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Special Issue "Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 14031

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alberto Bezama
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Department of Bioenergy, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
Interests: resource management under life cycle concepts; social life cycle assessment in regional contexts; regionalized assessment of sustainability issues related to the bioeconomy field; evaluation of emerging bio-based technologies under a system analysis perspective
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. emer. Raymond P. Cote
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhiusie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
Interests: eco-efficiency; industrial ecology; circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Ioppolo
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Guest Editor
Department of Economics, University of Messina, Italy
Interests: environmental management; industrial ecology; environmental governance; local development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Stefania Massari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Management and Economics, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy
Interests: sustainable development; environmental impact of production; energy production; technological innovation; sustainability management; indicators, certifications; life-cycle management
Dr. Desta Mebratu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Complex Systems, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Interests: resource efficient and cleaner production; sustainable energy systems; sustainable development policies; wellbeing economy
Dr. Tomas Rydberg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Valhallavägen 81, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: sustainable development; recycling; life-cycle assessment; sustainable consumption and production
Prof. Dr. Guido Sonnemann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Molecular Sciences (ISM), Université of Bordeaux, CNRS UMR 5255, F-33400 Talence, France
Interests: sustainable chemistry; sustainable materials management; sustainable development goals; decoupling; resource efficiency; environmental impact; life-cycle assessment; criticality assessment; material flow analysis
Dr. Fritz Balkau
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Independent adviser—sustainable solutions, Paris, France
Interests: sustainable development; environmental management; life-cycle management; resource management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the major hurdles to sustainable development is the increasing scarcity of, and access to resources that provide society with essential needs for food, water, energy, and materials. There is broad international consensus that substantial changes are needed regarding the way resources are used in different production and consumption processes. Despite the extensive work needed to resolve this issue, many questions remain unanswered, including the important role of regions in paving the road to sustainable development in the framework of the agreed UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Regions are simultaneously providers and users of various types of resources. Regional development policies and actions can have major implications for local and international sustainability over the life-cycle of the resources themselves, and of the manufactured products that are derived from them.

Sustainable regional development depends on the adoption of systematic and long-term criteria for decision-making at different levels. Over the last years, a series of management tools and IT-solutions for the optimization of materials and product flows have come into wider use. A life-cycle approach has emerged as the most effective framework within which such tools can be applied in order to ensure that the key SDGs are properly considered.

Life-cycle assessment has become an effective optimization tool for products and materials, often applied in a business context. The use of various life-cycle tools for regional sustainability management is still evolving, suffering from lack of general awareness and experience in application. This Special Issue intends to bridge the current knowledge gap, providing a platform to present and discuss the ways in which life-cycle tools can be used to strengthen regional socio-economic planning, environment protection, and infrastructure development in a more sustainable manner.

In this Issue, we clearly distinguish between life-cycle assessment (LCA) as the analytical phase, and life-cycle management (LCM) as the phase of interventionist actions, whether on policy or on the ground. The LCA techniques identify the impacts of the current situation (i.e., the “problems”) and of the various alternative options (i.e., the “solutions”), whereas LCM provides a life-chain-based approach to intervention, federating the stakeholders along the resource or material life-cycle around agreed objectives, in order to achieve a more sustainable system outcome that optimizes the benefits and impacts along the entire life-chain and across all SDGs.

The editors of this Special Issue invite the presentation of life-cycle applications from both a scientific and a practical point of view, highlighting examples and case studies at a regional level. The applications should be relevant to private actors from different economic sectors, as well as to public representatives responsible for regional planning and administrative procedures. Preference will be given to discussions of regional needs, actions, and outcomes that embody a life-cycle approach rather than around individual products or business practices that are already extensively presented elsewhere.

 

Topics of interest are as follows:

  • Sustainability of territorial resources and utilization by different sectors (industry, transports, tourism, agriculture, and energy) in the context of multiple SDGs, as well as possible secondary impacts.
  • In-depth investigations of the theoretical linkages (including modelling and forecasting) and the impacts of policy instruments (e.g., market-based instruments) addressing regional material resources. Transition from LCA to LCM in the context of regional development.
  • Assessment of the implications of behavioral-based policies for the economic sustainability of energy, water, and material resources.
  • Use of life-cycle approaches to regional direct operations such as office practices, procurement, tendering, project management, building and construction, transport planning and provision, water and energy supply, chemicals use.
  • Life-cycle approaches to land-use planning, urban planning, landscape preservation, biodiversity, and conservation.
  • Life-cycle framework for circular economy and bio-economy policies and initiatives.
  • Life-cycle management in key regional industry sectors such as construction, transport, energy, tourism, manufacturing, retail, and extractive industry.
  • Life-cycle assessment of regional pollution, waste management, recycling, and prevention policies and operations.
  • Regional needs and case studies of holistic action that incorporate life-cycle thinking and analysis, and address a wider range of SDGs.
  • Identification of life-cycle methods and techniques that are capable of addressing the broader dimension of sustainability (i.e., non-materials flow issues).
  • Case studies that highlight the life-chain aspect of various flows (materials, energy, labor, capital, etc.), and how life-cycle methods can take these into account.

It is intended that at the end of the publication process, the editors of this Special Issue will provide a synthesis to distil the key messages from the presented works into practical guidance points on how best to use life-cycle approaches to enhance sustainability in regional development.

Dr. Alberto Bezama
Prof. Raymond Cote
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Ioppolo
Prof. Stefania Massari
Dr. Desta Mebratu
Dr. Tomas Rydberg
Prof. Dr. Guido Sonnemann
Dr. Fritz Balkau
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Life-cycle approaches
  • Life-cycle tools (methodologies)
  • Life-cycle management
  • Sustainability in regional development
  • Regional development operations
  • Resource efficiency
  • Resource management
  • Circular economy
  • Industry sectors
  • Social impacts
  • Sustainable development goals (SDG)
  • Regional sustainability
  • Sustainable regional programs

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Trends and Challenges in Regional Life Cycle Management: A Bibliometric Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10335; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810335 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
Life cycle management has become increasingly important in the formulation of regional sustainable development policies and programs, while research on and the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies are predominantly conducted in a business context or for materials and product-related issues. In [...] Read more.
Life cycle management has become increasingly important in the formulation of regional sustainable development policies and programs, while research on and the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies are predominantly conducted in a business context or for materials and product-related issues. In light of the growing importance of regional policymaking, this article discusses the current scientific landscape of regional life cycle management approaches. It conducts a bibliometric analysis using the Scopus database and integrates a co-word analysis to highlight important linkages. Our analysis reveals that an increasing number of papers have been published on regional-level LCAs in recent years; however, they remain focused on issues related to the traditional materials-oriented aspects. Conversely, little research appears to be conducted on regional life cycle management issues and activities. The research is strongly centralized, with a clustering of regional LCA studies within a relatively small group of countries, institutes, journals and authors. Despite a rapid increase in recently published papers, our analysis reveals a gap in research and knowledge transfer of regional LCA results to public policymakers and regional planners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Article
Material Flow Analysis to Evaluate Supply Chain Evolution and Management: An Example Focused on Maritime Pine in the Landes de Gascogne Forest, France
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4378; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084378 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
The Landes de Gascogne forest, located in southwestern France, spans nearly 10,000 km2 and consists largely of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). This forest in unique to Europe because it is almost entirely created and managed by man for specific industries. [...] Read more.
The Landes de Gascogne forest, located in southwestern France, spans nearly 10,000 km2 and consists largely of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). This forest in unique to Europe because it is almost entirely created and managed by man for specific industries. On the basis of a material flow analysis, we assessed the upstream supply chain of maritime pine from 2013 to 2019, using a cradle-to-gate approach. The assessment is based on data provided by Alliance Forêts Bois, an important stakeholder of the region and leader in the production of forest resources in France. For various reasons, the harvest totals decreased 10% in the last years. We identified a clear orientation to specific industries—in 2019, 45% was used as pulpwood. This is due to the overall design of the current territory, species of tree, and market values of the pulp and paper industry. The current design provides a limited supply of old growth trees, which produce high-quality logs for construction-based products, and are also more resistant to climate variability. A future shift or balance in raw material flows could be a crucial step in protecting the long-term economic viability of the region. This article aims to contribute to new attempts in providing comprehensive views of stocks and flows in the French forest-wood supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Article
Integrating Regionalized Socioeconomic Considerations onto Life Cycle Assessment for Evaluating Bioeconomy Value Chains: A Case Study on Hybrid Wood–Concrete Ceiling Elements
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4221; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084221 - 10 Apr 2021
Viewed by 930
Abstract
As bioeconomy strategies strive to integrate industrial sectors for achieving innovative materials alternative to the ones produced from non-renewable resources, the development of monitoring systems and tools to assess the implementation of such value chains is still a work in progress. This work [...] Read more.
As bioeconomy strategies strive to integrate industrial sectors for achieving innovative materials alternative to the ones produced from non-renewable resources, the development of monitoring systems and tools to assess the implementation of such value chains is still a work in progress. This work intended to integrate the traditional life cycle assessment with a regionalized social life cycle assessment method to evaluate alternative production scenarios of a hybrid construction system with a wood-based lightweight concrete panel as a core component currently in its final stages of technical development. The life cycle impact assessment was carried out by comparing the relative advantages of two product development scenarios against the reference system’s results. The social life cycle assessment was carried out using the model “REgional SPecific cONtextualised Social life cycle Assessment” (RESPONSA), which was developed for assessing wood-based value chains under a regional scope. The results showed that both alternative scenarios present large advantages when compared to the reference system. Moreover, the implementation of the production value chain was found to imply positive socioeconomic advantages in the region, in particular, due to the quality of the jobs found in the organizations associated with the production system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Article
Life Cycle Assessment of Households in Santiago, Chile: Environmental Hotspots and Policy Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2525; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052525 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1056
Abstract
The aim of this study is to assess the environmental impacts of household life cycles in Santiago, Chile, by household income level. The assessment considered scenarios associated with environmental policies. The life cycle assessment was cradle-to-grave, and the functional unit considered all the [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to assess the environmental impacts of household life cycles in Santiago, Chile, by household income level. The assessment considered scenarios associated with environmental policies. The life cycle assessment was cradle-to-grave, and the functional unit considered all the materials and energy required to meet an inhabitant’s needs for one year (1 inh/year). Using SimaPro 9.1 software, the Recipe Midpoint (H) methodology was used. The impact categories selected were global warming, fine particulate matter formation, terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication, freshwater ecotoxicity, mineral resource scarcity, and fossil resource scarcity. The inventory was carried out through the application of 300 household surveys and secondary information. The main environmental sources of households were determined to be food consumption, transport, and electricity. Food consumption is the main source, responsible for 33% of the environmental impacts on global warming, 69% on terrestrial acidification, and 29% on freshwater eutrophication. The second most crucial environmental hotspot is private transport, whose contribution to environmental impact increases as household income rises, while public transport impact increases in the opposite direction. In this sense, both positive and negative environmental effects can be generated by policies. Therefore, life-cycle environmental impacts, the synergy between policies, and households’ socio-economic characteristics must be considered in public policy planning and consumer decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Article
Implications of Low Carbon City Sustainability Strategies for 2050
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5417; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135417 - 04 Jul 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1550
Abstract
Cities and urban areas are critical nodes of societal resource flows, responsible for both global and local sustainability implications. They are complex systems and understanding the implications of potential actions by cities is critical for progress towards sustainability. In this paper the future [...] Read more.
Cities and urban areas are critical nodes of societal resource flows, responsible for both global and local sustainability implications. They are complex systems and understanding the implications of potential actions by cities is critical for progress towards sustainability. In this paper the future implications of sustainability strategies are assessed for 10 European cities by comparing two scenarios for 2050: a business-as-usual (BAU) and a post-carbon/sustainability scenario (PC2050) (generated by city stakeholders). The effects of the scenarios are assessed using a mixed methodology: a semi-quantitative sustainability indicator analysis, energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (both production-based and consumption-based accounting (PBA and CBA)), land-use spatial modelling, and cost–benefit analysis. The paper highlights the clear benefits of PC2050 with improved sustainability indicator results, reduced land sprawl (which averages 16% in BAU) and positive cost–benefit results. Nonetheless, inequality and segregation are a common concern. In addition, whilst PBA indicates a significant decrease (average decrease from 4.7 to 1.3 tCO2eq per capita) CBA demonstrates rising overall emissions from an average of 11 to 14.8 tCO2eq per capita. This is linked to rising affluence and consumption trends despite local improvements in GHG emissions, which highlights a need for cities to address consumption-based emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Article
Insights from the Sustainability Monitoring Tool SUMINISTRO Applied to a Case Study System of Prospective Wood-Based Industry Networks in Central Germany
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3896; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093896 - 10 May 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1392
Abstract
Bioeconomy regions are a young concept representing emerging amalgamation points for the implementation of cross-sectoral value-added chains. When sustainable bioeconomy strategies are rolled out, their proof-of-concept implies that industrial R&D activities should lead to impact decoupling and that the valorization of locally available [...] Read more.
Bioeconomy regions are a young concept representing emerging amalgamation points for the implementation of cross-sectoral value-added chains. When sustainable bioeconomy strategies are rolled out, their proof-of-concept implies that industrial R&D activities should lead to impact decoupling and that the valorization of locally available lignocellulosic biomass has to contribute to an increase in added value. Furthermore, regional co-benefits for society and a positive influence on local environmental and socioeconomic conditions are major factors. The fulfillment of these strategic goals would be a milestone achievement when progressing from the blueprint development and the road-mapping stage towards socially accepted and sustainable wood-based bioeconomy strategies. For regional industrial and science stakeholders who run pilot facilities for process upscaling and for energy and material flow integration, this requires well-orchestrated integrative processes, which go beyond conventional “Life Cycle Management” approaches. It is obvious that assessing and monitoring such integrative systems will have to account for different stakeholder perspectives and for detailed technology deployment and resource conversion scenarios. Applying a sustainability index methodology in a case study region must include an evaluation of the whole supply chain and the process networks associated with the characteristic products of the evaluated region. To date, no such integrative assessment methods exist in the literature. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to lay out, on the basis of a practical example in the case study region of Central Germany, an assessment of the sustainability level of wood-based bioeconomy networks by applying the Sustainability Monitoring Tool -SUMINISTRO”- to examine regional bio-based industry networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Communication
A Regional Socio-Economic Life Cycle Assessment of a Bioeconomy Value Chain
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1259; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031259 - 10 Feb 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2213
Abstract
A bioeconomy tackles sustainable development at both the global and regional levels, as it relies on the optimized use of renewable bio-based resources for the provisioning of food, materials, and energy to meet societal demands. The effects of the bioeconomy can be best [...] Read more.
A bioeconomy tackles sustainable development at both the global and regional levels, as it relies on the optimized use of renewable bio-based resources for the provisioning of food, materials, and energy to meet societal demands. The effects of the bioeconomy can be best observed at a regional level, as it supports regional development and affects the social dimension of sustainability. In order to assess the social impacts of wood-based production chains with regional differentiation, the social life cycle assessment framework “RESPONSA” was established in 2018. We present an initial study, in which this method is applied to an exemplary production chain in a case study of laminated veneer lumber produced in central Germany. The results show a relatively better social performance compared to the reference economic sector, reflecting a relatively low rate of female employees as a major social hotspot. Several social opportunities are identified, in terms of health and safety, equal opportunities, and adequate remuneration, for the organization taking part in the value chain. Finally, considering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a global normative framework, a number of additional indicators for RESPONSA, as well as further developments and recommendations regarding its application in other regions and the upcoming social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) guidelines, are identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Article
Energy Crops in Regional Biogas Systems: An Integrative Spatial LCA to Assess the Influence of Crop Mix and Location on Cultivation GHG Emissions
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010237 - 27 Dec 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1677
Abstract
Anaerobic digestion producing biogas is an important decentralized renewable energy technology used to mitigate climate change. It is dependent on local and regional feedstocks, which determine its sustainability. This has led to discussions on how to alter feedstock for biogas plants without compromising [...] Read more.
Anaerobic digestion producing biogas is an important decentralized renewable energy technology used to mitigate climate change. It is dependent on local and regional feedstocks, which determine its sustainability. This has led to discussions on how to alter feedstock for biogas plants without compromising their GHG (Greenhouse gas) saving, one particular issue being the use of Maize silage (MS) as the dominant feedstock. To support this discussion, this paper presents an integrated life cycle assessment of energy crop cultivation for 425 biogas catchments in the region of Central Germany (CG). The simulations for the CG region showed that MS as an effective crop to mitigate GHG emissions per kilowatt hour (GHGculti) was context dependent. In some cases, GHGculti reductions were supported due to higher yields, and in other cases, this led to increased GHGculti. We show that the often-proposed strategy of substituting one crop for another needs to be adapted for strategies which take into account the crop mixtures fed into biogas plants and how they perform altogether, under the specific regional and locational conditions. Only in this way can the trade-offs for lower GHGculti be identified and managed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Article
Resources, Collaborators, and Neighbors: The Three-Pronged Challenge in the Implementation of Bioeconomy Regions
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247235 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1746
Abstract
Over the last decade, the bioeconomy has become increasingly important and visible in international policy agendas, with several strategies being recently developed. The implementation of bio-based technologies mostly takes place on a regional scale. Therefore, from a regional perspective, a key question revolves [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, the bioeconomy has become increasingly important and visible in international policy agendas, with several strategies being recently developed. The implementation of bio-based technologies mostly takes place on a regional scale. Therefore, from a regional perspective, a key question revolves around what main challenges are associated with technological developments that could catalyze the implementation of sustainable bioeconomy regions. In this study, a cross-cutting analysis was carried out to determine these challenges. First, interviews were conducted with industry practitioners and scientists working in the bioeconomy field. These interviews were supplemented with a literature review to determine the status quo of bioeconomy strategies and their implementation, particularly on a regional level. A multidisciplinary workshop was then organized to identify the most relevant challenges in the short- and mid-term associated with establishing bioeconomy regions. The results show that there is a three-pronged challenge in innovative technological development from a regional perspective: (1) Resources: The establishment of sustainable regional feedstock strategies and supplies for supporting the bio-industrial sector; (2) collaborators: The establishment of a regional “critical mass” by fostering supply chain clusters and networks; and (3) neighbors: Understanding the local dynamics of societal trends and preferences and social acceptance of bio-technologies and their representative bio-based products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Review

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Review
A Review on the Use of Life Cycle Methodologies and Tools in Sustainable Regional Development
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10881; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910881 - 30 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 637
Abstract
This review examines how life cycle methodologies are presently used by regional authorities in their sustainable development programmes. The review incorporates formal methods of life cycle assessment (LCA) as well as non-standardised approaches like life cycle management (LCM). The review describes the sustainability [...] Read more.
This review examines how life cycle methodologies are presently used by regional authorities in their sustainable development programmes. The review incorporates formal methods of life cycle assessment (LCA) as well as non-standardised approaches like life cycle management (LCM). The review describes the sustainability agenda facing regions, and a ‘life cycle toolbox’ that can be used at territorial level. Several parallel literature research methods were used to collect representative examples from around the world of regional life cycle approaches, identifying a variety of common and still-evolving methodologies used to address sustainability issues and applications. Results show that regional use of various life cycle methodologies from the toolbox is growing although scope is often constrained to short life chains, and with limited consideration of secondary (“spillover”) impacts. The conclusions confirm earlier findings that current life cycle tools are not always ideally structured for public sector organisations, with some not yet mature for addressing regional sustainability issues, such as biodiversity, land use and social impacts. Regional data aggregation is currently insufficient for certain methods. Further research is needed to adapt certain life cycle methodologies for regional application, but many available tools could already be further applied than is currently the case. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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