Business case for a National database
The database roadmap process can also be used to align within the local LCA community and key stakeholder groups on how to mainstream life cycle thinking and LCA-based approaches and metrics in the country. LCA can support public policies aimed at promoting sustainable development, not only on the product level, but also for organizations, consumers, and regions. LCA may, for example, provide information for sustainability reporting, identify processes or industries that demand improvement and drive innovation, support public procurement regulations and strengthen the competitiveness of organizations in restricted markets.
That is how the added value of an LCA database can be shown. Important areas to address include promoting uptake in public policies, in the private sector and in research and education. Broad recognition and implementation through public policies or by industry may prove pivotal in acquiring the resources necessary to sustain a financially viable national LCA database. In addition, with the underlying data as the vehicle, these actors and institutions can become main drivers for a more sustainable development. Ultimately, these efforts all contribute to the positive impact of the national LCA database initiative.
Practical application examples and success stories with tangible positive outcomes from other countries, industries or fields of research are powerful for transmitting the potential of adopting life cycle thinking and practices. This awareness-raising should ideally start already during the stakeholder consultations and then accompany the various database roadmap stages. Resources and tools are available to support such efforts, including a suite of e-learning modules provided by the Life Cycle Initiative. Available free of charge and in at least two different languages, the modules currently cover an introduction to life cycle thinking, as well as its application in business decision-making and policy-making.