Mapping and planning carbon reduction – an exercise on life cycle assessment

In a world under the growing effects of climate change, the importance of knowing the sources of emissions is key for finding solutions the mitigate them and find the ways to adapt. This generally applies for businesses and organisations, but it is also very useful to map the carbon footprint for every citizen.

In early March, the CIPSEM EM40 class had a workshop on life cycle assessment (LCA) with Helena Ponstein MSc, where we learned about the context for the rise of carbon emissions, the unpredictable consequences of climate change and the significant sustainability constraints we face nowadays. As an example and reminder of these constraints, there is an Earth Overshoot Day, which indicates the exhaustion of replenishable Earth resources that arrives, year after year, in an earlier date than the previous one (last year the date was 8 August 2016).

When the classroom discussed about the effects of climate change in the home countries, some of the consequences mentioned were the increase of floods and coastal erosion, shortages of water or having unpredictable weather trends. Another concern in class was how to make understand with figures the consequences of climate change to decision makers to avoid misconceptions and wrong budget allocations.

After the discussions and the showing of a video on sustainability, we proceeded to learn the details about LCA. In a short explanation, LCA is a methodology that helps understand the effects and impact of product and services from its originated source to its final outcome and post treatment within a boundary, with the aim of mapping the overall impacts and projecting how to manage environmental issues.  Amongst its benefits are the possibility for an improved environmental performance and, ideally, life cycle thinking.

Then, why do companies apply LCA? Some companies do it for internal sustainability goals, green marketing or brand enhancement, but the number of industries that are required by regulation authorities to report carbon footprint is increasing.

For the afternoon, we got involved into the practical part of the day: make our own LCA for an industry and suggesting possible measures to reduce the impact, calculating the equivalent CO2 emissions that fall under the global warming potential. Grouped into teams of four people, we explored with precise figures the amount of emissions and the different costs depending on the country chosen. The exercise was successful as all groups where able to arrive to similar results, and later we discussed the possible mitigation actions.

 

Text: Adrián Lauer with the support of Augusto Mosqueda, EM40 participants

Photos: Adrián Lauer

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Plastic all over the world

At the end of a week mostly dedicated to resource efficiency and recycling stood a visit to the gallery at artspace „Alte Feuerwache Loschwitz“ in Dresden.

Quotes by six participants:

We were very pleased to get the possibility to have a short look in the expedition „Plastics of the world“. There posters are shown which have the topic of plastic in art.

Even thinking that was a small exposition, I liked the idea of the expositors had, many deeps thoughts and especial meanings of each poster.

Is plastic a problem or a solution¿ The exposition have highlighted differents point of views about this material around the world and made me think we don´t have only one truth about this issue.

I was impressed by the different concepts that eveyone has about plastics and this was reflected in every poster, especially the quote „plastic save us“. Could this material become more popular even though we are globally trying to reduce and banned its use?

It is a great idea that I wish we could see more in biger scale. We surronded by plastic in a world and art is the most effective tools to rais our awarness.

It was great to see the different views of the plastic world in terms of materials and the ‘philosophy’.
My thought is actually broadened with these different views in the world of plastic.

 

 

Authored by:

Harald Schluttig, Andrea Vera, Jaya Upadhyay, Fernanda Silva Martinelli, Ramshid Rashidpour, Natalia Jimenez 

Discussions on resource efficiency in Berlin

We are in Berlin with the 67th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management (SC67).

An important dimension of this course is to examine examples of structures and tools which are helpful or outright necessary for a transition to a circular economy.

With this in mind today we have met Dr. Fasbender with whom we discussed how econsense e.V. functions as a dialog platform for German companies interested in sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.

Afterwards, Ms. Vanessa Bach introduced us to ways of measuring resource efficiency and shared some related project experiences of the Chair of Sustainable Engineering of TU Berlin with us.

In the afternoon we were joined by Mr. Mikael Henzler, managing director of adelphi with long-term experience in development cooperation, Ms. Cosima Stahr, expert for green finance, and Mr. Frederik Eisinger, expert for cleaner production and waste management. After dealing with the concept of green economy in developing countries and emerging economies in general, we discussed project experiences related to

  • resource efficiency (increasing resource efficiency in metal finishing SMEs in India)
    waste (formalising the Indian E-Waste Sector & Developing a Waste NAMA in India)
  • sustainable business (the SEED Initiative)
  • green finance (Implementing green credit lines in India)

From these starting points we have looked into ways of supporting the development of enabling conditions for the path to a green economy.

The 67th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course just moved in …

The 67th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course has just begun. Experts from Argentina, Bhutan, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Saint Lucia and Vietnam have moved into the CIPSEM headquarters to deepen and share their knowledge on “Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management”. The course programme was developed in close cooperation with the Institute of Waste Management and Circular Economy at the Technische Universität Dresden.

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