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A “static” perspective on LCA applications — Survey results

  • Paolo Frankl
  • Frieder Rubik
Chapter

Abstract

The application of LCA in business and industry is the topic of this chapter. The survey presented in chapter 4 does not consider a development-process, it provides us with a static and not a dynamic picture of the state of institutionalisation of LCA in different companies. The focus of the survey was an international comparison and we identified common and different patterns of LCA-application in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.

Keywords

Product Innovation Product Standard Environmental Management System Italian Company Relative Share 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. 1.
    However, this paper does not report on each result contained in the four national reports. It focuses on interesting findings and results; it considers differences between the four countries concerned. Therefore, interested readers are referred to the national reports for more details. The German (Rubik 1998a) and the Swedish report (Beckman/Baumann 1998) have been published, the other reports (Meier/von Däniken 1998, Mirulla 1998) not yet.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    According to the criterion “Number of employees below 250”. One also has to keep in mind that at least 50% of the companies in the sample were large companies according to the selection method.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    However, the number of refusals is reported in the national reports.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    One possible answer for each concern was allowed.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    It is worth remembering the numbers of LCA users as share of respondents in each country: CH: 54%, D: 61%; I: 60%; S: 39%. One answer for each stakeholder was allowed. Within five years.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Due to the specific national situation, the Italian questionnaire did not ask for media, suppliers and regulators as stakeholders. However, from general knowledge and from the case-studies carried out within the whole research project, it is known that at present these three groups are not the main motivation factors for starting LCA activities in Italian companies. The importance of regulators is expected to increase in the future.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    The method of ranking into A-B-C is described in subsection 4.1.3. As already mentioned, the Italian questionnaire did not ask for regulators, media and suppliers as stakeholders.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    The method of ranking into A-B-C is described in subsection 4.13. As mentioned, the Italian questionnaire did not ask for regulators, media and suppliers as stakeholders. Therefore, we allocated the two major stakeholders to the “A”-group and the two minor stakeholders to the “C”-group.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    The method of constructing this index is described in subsection 4.1.3.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Several answers to this question were allowed.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    The method of the ranking into A-B-C is described in subsection 4.13.Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Absolute“ Italian results, however, must be interpreted carefully, since only 18 companies responded saying they used LCA. Moreover, nine of these ticked only three choices, two companies two choices and one company only one choice.Google Scholar
  13. 20.
    This affects mainly absolute per cent values. However, the results in relative terms between different applications in each country are much more reliable.Google Scholar
  14. 21.
    The method of the ranking into A-B-C is described in subsection 4.1.3. In addition, we used a threshold criterion: If more than 40% of all companies of a country indicated that a specific application is relevant, we ranked it with A; in case of less than 10%, we ranked it with C; all the other cases, we ranked with B.Google Scholar
  15. 22.
    Future ranking values are generally lower, due to a much higher number of not answering companies, particularly in Germany and Switzerland.Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    As already mentioned, this question might have been misunderstood in the Italian version.Google Scholar
  17. 24.
    Up to two answers were allowed. the higher percentage of Swiss and SwedishGoogle Scholar
  18. 26.
    The absolute numbers of companies answering the questionnaire and using LCA are quite similar in Sweden and Germany (respectively 66 and 62). However, if the difference of population and GDP is taken into account, it might well be concluded that Swedish companies are by far the most significant users of LCA among the four selected countries.Google Scholar
  19. 27.
    By mistake, the purchasing department was not included in the Italian translation of the questionnaire. This result has therefore not to be taken into account.Google Scholar
  20. 28.
    Several answers were allowed.Google Scholar
  21. 29.
    Several answers to this question were allowed.Google Scholar
  22. 31.
    Several answers to this question were allowed.Google Scholar
  23. 34.
    Several answers to this question were allowed.Google Scholar
  24. 35.
    Several answers to this question were allowed.Google Scholar
  25. 37.
    Several answers to this question were allowed.Google Scholar
  26. 39.
    Italy seems to be an exception, but this may be due to the health and safety manager funcGoogle Scholar
  27. 40.
    And legislation pressure in Switzerland and Italy.Google Scholar
  28. 44.
    However, one has to doubt that the respondents considered the relationship between eco-taxes and LCA-results; we suppose that they refer to eco-taxes in general and not to LCA based tax measures.Google Scholar
  29. 45.
    However, one has to doubt that the respondents considered the relationship between eco-taxes and LCA-results; we suppose that they refer to eco-taxes in general and not to LCA based tax measures.Google Scholar
  30. 46.
    Several answers to this question were allowed.Google Scholar
  31. 47.
    In Sweden, there are several different voluntary eco-labelling systems; environmentally oriented taxes and charges have been introduced (see OECD 1997).Google Scholar
  32. 48.
    This conclusion might be taken with some care, because by mistake the Italian questionnaire did not include regulators and media and suppliers as stakeholders.Google Scholar
  33. 49.
    However, in the other countries also more than 30% of the companies use LCA for this particular application.Google Scholar
  34. 50.
    Italian results in this connection do not seem to be particularly reliable, since the answers to the two different questions are rather inconsistent with each other.Google Scholar
  35. 51.
    The expectiations refer to a time-horizon of five years.Google Scholar
  36. 52.
    In Italy, a new law on healthandsafety has been established recently. Moreover, environmental officers often also cover the healthandsafety function at the same time.Google Scholar
  37. 54.
    Another possible explanation is that the cost is accepted anyway before the study starts. This might particularly hold for Sweden.Google Scholar
  38. 55.
    Italy seems to be an exception, but this might be due to the double function described in the previous footnote.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Frankl
    • 1
  • Frieder Rubik
    • 2
  1. 1.Ambiente Italia s.r.l. and Ecobilancio s.r.l.RomeItaly
  2. 2.Institute for Ecological Economy ResearchHeidelbergGermany

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