Incorporating costs in LCA
The goal of LCA is to identify the environmental impacts resulting from a product, process, or activity. While LCA is useful for evaluating environmental attributes, it stops short of providing information that business managers routinely utilize for decision-making — i.e., dollars. Thus, decisions regarding the processes used for manufacturing products and the materials comprising those products can be enhanced by weaving cost and environmental information into the decision-making process. Various approaches have been used during the past decade to supplement environmental information with cost information. One of these tools is environmental accounting, the identification, analysis, reporting, and use of environmental information, including environmental cost data. Environmental cost accounting provides information necessary for identifying the true costs of products and processes and for evaluating opportunities to minimize those costs. As demonstrated through two case studies, many companies are incorporating environmental cost information into their accounting systems to prioritize investments in new technologies and products.
KeywordsEnvironmental accounting environmental costs environmental externalities InLCA LCA LCC Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) life-cycle costing (LCC)
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