The Norwegian Defense Sector has expressed the need to conduct holistic life cycle analyses of their products to include all emissions in decision making.
Over the past several years, The Defense Research Institute (FFI) has prepared annual environmental reports of the activities in the Norwegian Defense sector, for tracking of environmental performances. As a continuous step towards this work, the Norwegian Defense sector has expressed the need for conducting an organizational life cycle assessment (O-LCA). An O-LCA includes the indirect greenhouse gas emissions for which the environmental report does not, yielding the total carbon footprint of the organization. By conducting the O-LCA, rather than the regular LCA, indirect emissions throughout the life cycle can be calculated. This allows the organization, in this case the Norwegian Defense Sector, to take them into account when making decisions about public procurement and to give them a full picture of the emissions produced through their activities. Stakeholders that benefit from this analysis include the Norwegian Defense Sector, outside contractors and Norwegian society, as areas for reduced emissions are identified, and both public and private organizations can be held to higher environmental standards.
The project was conducted as part of a Master’s thesis, where much of the student’s time was used for calculation.
Evidence of success
When the indirect GHG emissions are included in this type of assessment, the results show a much more holistic picture. The results of the initial O-LCA indicates that indirect emissions correspond to roughly 70% of the total emissions, which was not originally included in any reporting.
The O-LCA was performed using a hybrid LCA, with both process data and economic data used as input data. The streamlining of the data from different sources could impose a challenge.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice shows how important the holistic view is when changes for improvement are implemented. The O-LCA identifies the main hotspots of GHG emissions, helping effective policies to be implemented, and avoiding problem shifting.