Valuing Biodiversity in Life Cycle Impact Assessment
In this article, the authors propose an impact assessment method for life cycle assessment (LCA) that adheres to established LCA principles for land use-related impact assessment, bridges current research gaps and addresses the requirements of different stakeholders for a methodological framework. The conservation of biodiversity is a priority for humanity, as expressed in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Addressing biodiversity across value chains is a key challenge for enabling sustainable production pathways. Life cycle assessment is a standardised approach to assess and compare environmental impacts of products along their value chains. The impact assessment method presented in this article allows the quantification of the impact of land-using production processes on biodiversity for several broad land use classes. It provides a calculation framework with degrees of customisation (e.g., to take into account regional conservation priorities), but also offers a default valuation of biodiversity based on naturalness. The applicability of the method is demonstrated through an example of a consumer product. The main strength of the approach is that it yields highly aggregated information on the biodiversity impacts of products, enabling biodiversity-conscious decisions about raw materials, production routes and end user products.
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Published in: Sustainability, 10.3390/su11205628, MDPI
- Erratum published on 13 March 2020, see Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2270. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205628