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Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and Capabilities: Summary of a Workshop (2012)

Chapter: Appendix E: The Federal Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) Digital Commons

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: The Federal Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) Digital Commons." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and Capabilities: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13476.
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Appendix E


The Federal Life-Cycle Assessment
  (LCA) Digital Commons
1

Life-cycle assessment is the assessment of environmental, economical, and social impact of a product throughout its lifespan, and is increasingly important in product design, procurement decisions, and policy making in the public and private sectors. The USDA, EPA, DOE, and other federal agencies have generated and are continuing to produce a critical mass of data available to support LCA activities. However, there is currently a lack of reliable, comprehensive, and open access data to support life-cycle assessments (LCA) for public and private decision making.

The primary purpose of the federal LCA Digital Commons is to fully leverage federal investments in sustainability science and technology to maximize benefits by coordinating LCA data collection, organization, management, dissemination, and preservation. This project adopts an open source, open standard, and open access approach for system development. Stated deliverables from the federal LCA Digital Commons include:

•  Peer-reviewed LCA data, which ensures validity and reliability for analyses by providing reliable and comprehensive data made available through open database access

•  Data preservation

•  Standards and protocols, which are open, practical, and matured standards to represent and exchange LCA data and models

_____________

1www.lcacommons.gov/

Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: The Federal Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) Digital Commons." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and Capabilities: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13476.
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•  Nomenclatures, which provide a shared vocabulary and naming convention to represent LCA data and model LCA methods and practices

•  Tools to collect, organize, validate, analyze, and visualize LCA data and models, and services to facilitate activities in the LCA community

Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: The Federal Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) Digital Commons." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and Capabilities: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13476.
×
Page 61
Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: The Federal Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) Digital Commons." National Research Council. 2012. Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and Capabilities: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13476.
×
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Federal laws, regulations, and executive orders have imposed requirements for federal agencies to move toward the sustainable acquisition of goods and services, including the incorporation of sustainable purchasing into federal agency decision making. Since the federal government is such a significant player in the market, its move to incorporate sustainable procurement practices could have a profound impact on the types of products being developed for the market as a whole.

The General Services Administration (GSA) has played a key role in furthering sustainable procurement practices throughout the federal government. GSA is responsible for formulating and maintaining government-wide policies covering a variety of administrative actions, including those related to procurement and management. GSA has several ongoing activities related to sustainable procurement to assess the feasibility of working with the federal supplier community - vendors and contractors that serve federal agencies to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the supply chain while encouraging sustainable operations among suppliers. GSA has also been actively developing programs to assist federal agencies in making sustainable procurement decisions. As federal agencies cannot directly fund the development of sustainable procurement tools, they are particularly interested in understanding how to foster innovation and provide incentives for collaboration between developers and users of tools for sustainable purchasing throughout the supply chain. The training of procurement professionals is also a priority for these agencies.

To assist efforts to build sustainability considerations into the procurement process, the National Research Council appointed a committee to organize a two-day workshop that explored ways to better incorporate sustainability considerations into procurement tools and capabilities across the public and private sectors. The workshop was designed to help participants assess the current landscape of green purchasing tools, identify emerging needs for enhanced or new tools and opportunities to develop them, identify potential barriers to progress, and explore potential solutions. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to discuss challenges related to sustainable purchasing and to developing new procurement tools. Sustainability Considerations for Procurement Tools and Capabilities reviews the presenters' recommendations and tools currently used in sustainable procurement, such as databases for ecolabels and standards, codes, or regulations and other nontechnological tools such as policies, frameworks, rating systems, and product indexes.

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