Life-cycle assessment in eco-labelling: Between standardisation and local appropriation


  • Merlin M. Münch



Over the last decades the demand for green and fair products by consumers has steadily increased and governments have undertaken greater efforts to devise green policies as well as to create incentives for industry to lessen the environmental impact of production processes (Finkbeiner, et al. 2006). Companies and large-scale multinational corporations, as well as national governments and local businesses are thus increasingly urged to account for the ecological footprint they leave behind and to actively improve their environmental performance. There exists a large variety of different scientific methods to analyse the environmental impact of a certain product, service or policy – for instance Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Risk Assessment. However, amongst the multiplicity of methods, life cycle assessment (LCA) has become one of the most prominent approaches, since it is considered to be the methodology that encompasses the widest range of possible environmental impacts. This chapter seeks to shed light on the tension between standardisation and local appropriation, in order to show that a certain degree of local responsiveness is necessary for the effectiveness of the method.    


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