Browse Publications Technical Papers 2000-01-1481

Life Cycle Considerations as a Foundation for Improved Cost Assessments 2000-01-1481

Key drivers in our global economy are mainly cost. The growing importance of environmental themes does not change this view. Today very often economic performance and environmental friendliness are considered to be non-compatible.
The reasoning for this is mainly, that environmental protection is seen defensive and end-of-pipe oriented. If an organizations emphasis is only legal compliance, such arguments are especially true. Here filters, sewage plants and waste management are real cost drivers. In order to overcome this non-beneficial situation, new approaches are inevitable. Offensive approaches are required to meet both, economic and environmental targets.
LCA has in the past only been used to assess a systems environmental performance. Therefore many data were collected and assessed, but only from an environmental standpoint. However, this time and cost intensive data collection has also significantly contributed to arguments against the use of LCA.
The authors propose a different solution. The high quality LCA data on substance and energy flow, could easily be used to better describe to cost drivers within the manufacturing operations. Very often, these data are not available (therefore LCA's are so expensive!) and not available for cost accounting. A proper data collection and analysis could substantially improve the cost-relevant data processing.
On this basis, improvements can not only be achieved form the environmental perspective. Major improvements can be found on the economic side, too. The systematic analysis of processes gives access to activity based costing approaches.
The aim of this paper is to show cases, where such methods have been used beneficially.


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