Application of Life Cycle Assessment in Service Industries

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Topics: Service system
Application of life cycle assessment in service industries: a review
Sabrina Rodrigues Sousa 1 , 2 , *, Aldo Roberto O metto 1
1 2

University of São Paulo, School Engineering of São Carlos, São Carlos, Brazil

Ministry of Science and Technology, Center for Information Technology Renato Archer (CTI), Campinas, Brazil

*sabrinarsousa@gmail.com

Abstract The introduction of services in the economy adds value in an intangible way while promotes dematerialization. As products, services are developed to fulfill customers’ needs, being representative also in economic and social concerns. But, despite of their non-physical attributes, they may also give rise to, direct and indirect, environmental impacts. The intangibility of services added with the fact that, in most cases, the environmental loads of service companies are not produced at the site of activity, difficults the assessment of environmental contribution of this sector. Thus, this paper aims to understand how services are being studied using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), to present an overview of the case studies obtained during the literature review and to start a discussion about the methodological issues which difficult the application of LCA methodology in this sector.

1

Introduction

A sustainable society in the future should use only about 10 percent of the resources that industrialized societies are using today (per capita) [1]. In many situations, most of resources end up as waste even before being processed into products. This scenario exposes the need of a reformulation to move from the prevailing economic system of manufacturing goods and inducing customers to buy them based on dematerialized consumption patterns towards a sustainable society. Approaches focused on cleaning and remediation, as treatments accomplished at the end of industrial processes (‘end-of-pipe’), have become insufficient, requiring their integration with pollution prevention strategies, giving them a broader perspective, as

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