The f3 project The method’s influence on climate impact assessment has discovered important differences in results when calculating carbon footprint depending on the method used for lifecycle analysis (LCA). While presenting preliminary results from the project during an open seminar, the project members also sought input and advice from the audience, representing both industry and academy.
The project team has carried out LCAs of five forest products, comparing three different methodsfor carbon footprinting. They have observed several challenges related to, e.g., geographical and time-related aspects of modelling the carbon flows as well as other climate aspects, such as the aerosol effect and non-carbon greenhouse gas emissions. Some complexities can be captured and handled, some do not. Thus, the project team has identified a need for improved methods that can capture reality sufficiently well for a specific purpose. This need was, among other things, underlined in a presentation held by Ellen Riise, SCA, who shared with the audience SCA’s experiences with carbon footprinting.
The project has two aims, presented by project leader Gustav Sandin Albertsson:
Contribute to more robust decision making concerning how to use Swedish forest biomass for reducing climate impact. (Intended audience: decision-makers in the forest product sectors, primarily the transportation biofuels sector)Contribute to the process of improving the methods and practices of climate impact assessment in LCAs of forest products. (Intended audience: LCA community)
Hence, the target group is wide and during the subsequent discussion several suggestions and requests were put forward, reflecting the different perspectives of the audience. The members of the project team were grateful for the feedback, which they considered valuable. Here are some of the viewpoints that were stressed:
There are so many choices to make regarding carbon footprinting, and they should depend on the aim of the study – but policy makers often have rather broad aims, which must be considered when communicating LCA results.Information/guidance regarding carbon footprinting must be made accessible for, e.g., decision makers and policy makers.Data used for carbon footprinting must not only be available, but also verifiable, since companies may use these numbers as a competitive advantage.In the report, the underlying assumption must be clear when applying dynamic LCA, as dynamic LCA (and similar methods) can be applied with different spatial and temporal system boundaries.
The feedback will be taken into account and included in the project report. To make sure the results of the project will be accessible and usable, several industry participants volunteered to review the executive summary.
The final report from the project will be published later this year and available here at the f3 website.