8 million to increase application of the life cycle perspective

​The Swedish Energy Agency has granted Chalmers University of Technology, the host university for the Swedish Life Cycle Center, SEK 8.28 million in support of an innovation cluster for the life cycle perspective between 2020 and 2024. The project is intended to strengthen Swedish collaboration in the life cycle area and contribute to an increased exchange of know-how, skills development and understanding for the life cycle perspective in industry and other parts of society.
The project aims to increase the use of the life cycle perspective among more players in society and thereby contribute to increasing energy and resource efficiency, improving consumption and production patterns, and to Agenda 2030.
The project has strong support from significant players in the form of co-funding from several industrial enterprises, universities, research institutes and public agencies. The project will be run by the Swedish Life Cycle Center, a competence centre at Chalmers University of Technology, which has been working together with industry, public agencies and research to meet and develop skills within the life cycle area since the 1990s. The Swedish Energy Agency has already financed “Swedish platform for the life cycle perspective”, a three-year project that was recently concluded.
“We are incredibly proud to receive this funding from the Swedish Energy Agency and for the confidence the agency has in us to continue to build on the momentum that was created in the earlier project. We can see how the Swedish Energy Agency’s funding has enabled us to meet society’s increased demand for life cycle skills. Owing to the keen involvement of several different players, we reach out to many organisations, impact on important international initiatives and contribute to an important increase in skills development in society,” says Sara Palander, Director of the Swedish Life Cycle Center at Chalmers University of Technology. 
The life cycle perspective involves considering the total impact of a product or service on the environment and on society through the entire value chain, from the extraction of raw materials to their disposal after use, and all the stages in between. The life cycle perspective enables us to identify where in the value chain the greatest impact lies. One of the primary advantages of applying a life cycle perspective is being able to establish the impact on the environment and on society of one’s products or services. It also makes it possible to avoid sub-optimal solutions – to avoid shifting the burden from one part of the chain to another.
Chalmers, being the host university for the centre, has several nationally and internationally recognised researchers within LCA and LCM (life cycle management) and the project is expected to involve several researchers and doctoral students in its activities, such as in the project’s planned networking meetings for doctoral students and researchers as well as in new research collaborations.
“The project is expected to contribute to the start of new research collaborations where representatives from the academic world, industry and public agencies can meet and contribute to the development of new methodology within LCA,” says Rickard Arvidsson, active researcher in environmental and sustainability assessments in the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis at Chalmers University of Technology, who is also the university’s representative on the centre’s steering group.

Additional voices concerning the initiative:

“The innovation cluster will bring together the country’s life cycle experts and disseminate know-how about the life cycle perspective to more users, which is expected to increase the use of life cycle aseessments throughout the value chain and thereby be able to increase Swedish competitiveness.”
Susanna Widstrand, Research Administrator, the Swedish Energy Agency
“An increase in the application of the life cycle perspective is essential for increasing society’s resource efficiency and for innovations and new business models that contribute to a transition to sustainability. This project is an important component for promoting this transition and to achieve increased collaboration between different players in the value chain.”
Lars Mårtensson, Environment and Innovation Director, Volvo Trucks, who is currently Chairman of the Board of the Swedish Life Cycle Center and the steering group for the innovation cluster.
“The Swedish Energy Agency’s financial support is significant to enable an important and relevant collaboration to continue between the many different players within the Swedish Life Cycle Center and the ‘Swedish platform for the life cycle perspective’ project. Bearing in mind the increased focus on the circular economy, value chains and product transparency, it is necessary to develop and improve both the methodology and use of LCA for the future. At the same time, this funding makes it possible for the centre to keep up with the good work that was begun in the earlier project ‘Swedish platform for the life cycle perspective’.”
Helle Herk-Hansen, Head of Environment at Vattenfall
“The Swedish Energy Agency’s investment in the innovation cluster is incredibly important for continuing to strengthen Swedish collaboration and increasing the application of the life cycle perspective to more parts of society. There is an increased need for expertise, tools, methodology development, training and coordinating activities in this area – and this is where we can make a further contribution through this important initiative.”
Anna Wikström, Acting Director, Swedish Life Cycle Center at Chalmers University of Technology.
More information about the project and planned activities will be published shortly on the Swedish Life Cycle Center’s website www.lifecyclecenter.se and on social media.

The following organisations are involved in co-financing the project:

Chalmers University of Technology
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU
Essity Hygiene and Health AB
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Nouryon AB
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB
Scania CV AB
Sweco Environment AB
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
Vattenfall AB
Volvo Cars Corporation
Volvo Technology AB


Swedish Life Cycle Center

Swedish Life Cycle Center is a national competence center at Chalmers University of Technology for credible and applied life cycle thinking in industry and society. The center was founded year 1996 as a collaboration between Nutek (later Vinnova), Chalmers University of Technology and a number of international enterprises. Swedish Life Cycle Center has today 14 partners and is host for a collaboration with nine Swedish government agencies (National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, Swedish Board of Agriculture, Swedish Consumer Agency, Swedish Energy Agency, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Swedish Geotechnical Institute (SGI), Swedish Transport Administration, the National Agency for Public Procurement and the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis, Growth Analysis
The center is hosted by the Department of Technology Management and Economics and has a close collaboration with the division Environmental Systems Analysis. It is also part of the Chalmers Production Area of Advance.
Swedish Life Cycle Center in social media:

Anna Wikström, Acting Director Swedish Life Cycle Center
Department Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology
031-772 49 61
Text: Daniel Karlsson and Anna Wikström

Published: Thu 02 Jul 2020.