A Critique of Life Cycle Assessment; Where Are the People?
Author(s)Gutowski, Timothy G
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In this article, we provide a framework and examples to illustrate how human behavior can disrupt the expected environmental outcomes suggested by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The biggest problems are when LCA results are scaled up to make claims about possible future outcomes within a narrowly crafted scenario that ignores real human behavior. There are however, many examples at smaller scales too, where (often) engineers using LCA appear to ignore the behavior of other engineers involved in the development scenario. We argue for the inclusion of more social science in the development of environmental LCA, and the use of a wider array of scenarios (grounded in real behaviors) to portray the possible future development of a product or service at large scale. Ultimately people, not products, need to be at the center of this discussion. Keywords: human behavior, Life Cycle Assessments, social science
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Gutowski, Timothy G. “A Critique of Life Cycle Assessment; Where Are the People?” Procedia CIRP 69 (2018): 11–15. © 2018 The Author
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