Jan 26, 2010

UN Life Cycle & Resource Management

UNEP's work to promote life cycle thinking is spearheaded by the UNEP/ SETAC Life Cycle Initiative.

 Life Cycle Thinking is essential to sustainable consumption and production. It is about going beyond the traditional focus on production sites and manufacturing processes so that the environmental, social, and economic impact of a product over its entire life cycle, including the consumption and end of use phase, is taken into account. 

Extended Producer Responsibility means that the producers take responsibility for their products from cradle to grave and therefore, should develop products that have improved performance throughout all stages of the product life cycle as shown above. At each stage of the life cycle, opportunities for improved performance exist. Three key stages are outlined below:

  1. A product life cycle, can begin with extracting raw materials from natural resources in the ground and generating energy. UNEP's International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management focuses particularly on the role of resources throughout the life cycle.

  2. Materials and energy are then part of production, packaging, distribution processes, which are the main activities of the industrial and commercial sectors of our economies.

  3. Goods and the related services are then used and maintained by consumers. When goods become obsolete (such as when they break, have no use, or simply become unwanted) consumers then make decisions about the end of life of the things they buy, which could be reused, recycled, or thrown away for final disposal.
Read more here at UN