Life Cycle Assessment, why it lagged behind and how it will race forward: Environmental assessment for decision, what about subjectivity and cognitive limits?

Abstract : Ethically aiming at sustainability, decision makers from all part of the society have to take decision for change. In any case, we should use decision methodologies taking into account multiple dimensions, in order to avoid impact rebounds and transfers. Current methodologies accord themselves with environmental, social and economical perspectives. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is becoming a leading methodology. To improve this tool that we consider legitimate, we observed modelling choices and value judgements within the evaluation methods and methodology standards. We also considered the current review of LCA's issues. After analysis, we propose a revision of the methodology and its standards. Fulfilling the desired attributes requires large amount of data, reflecting both our environment and the alternatives in which we are to chose. LCA community needs to revise its approach of data in a collaborative and open way. But before stands a prior problem. More than ambiguous phrasing of multi-functionality treatment rules (Weidema 2014), where ISO 14040 failed lies in the cause that it lacked a central key element. LCA is a multiple incommensurable attributes decision making tool. As incommensurable attributes are at stake, we can not bypass the expression of opinion if we are to include these attributes. And to handle this mass of information psychological and cognitive limits must be taken into account. All decision methodology handling incommensurable attributes shall include a value expression step, otherwise they cannot fulfil their function.
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Rudy Patard, Guisela Patard, David Balloy, Anne-Lise Cristol, Ion-Cosmin Gruescu. Life Cycle Assessment, why it lagged behind and how it will race forward: Environmental assessment for decision, what about subjectivity and cognitive limits?. The 17th congress of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP2015), May 2015, Oslo, Norway. ⟨http://eawop2015.org/⟩. ⟨hal-01150331⟩

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