Life Cycle Thinking has affected significantly during the recent years throuhg following policies and strategies:
- The Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan aims to reduce the overall environmental impact and consumption of resources associated with the complete life cycles of goods and services (products)
- Integrated Product Policy Communication (COM(2003)302)
- Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources (COM(2005)670)
- Thematic Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste (COM(2005)666)
One example about operationalizing these plans, policies and strategies is for example so called "extended producer responsibility (EPR)" which in Finland is included into national waste management act. EPR has caused a significant improvement in implementing and financing recycling activities of used cars, batteries and electronics for example.
Assignment: Find out which products are covered by extended producer responsibility system in your home country?
The other interesting example is eco-labeling of products. EU-flower is the official eco-label of European Union, Nordic Swan is widely know in Northern countries and The Blue Angel is used in Germany. Companies can use environmental criterias included into these labels for developing their products and processes. If they finally decide to get the label it is a well known and reliable tool for marketing purposes. Following the labeling criterias can also help companies to follow the principle of "continuous improvement" because the environmental requirements are renewed typically after three years. Additional information about the labels you can find under the following headline...