WorldAutoSteel announced in 2010 its participation in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative, as a Gold Sponsor in partnership with the World Steel Association. The Life Cycle Initiative was launched to respond to the call by governments around the world for a life cycle economy. Life Cycle Assessment takes into consideration the entire product life, from extraction of raw materials through end-of-life recycling, providing a holistic approach to environmental evaluations.
Through its joint participation with worldsteel and its involvement in the Life Cycle Initiative, WorldAutoSteel hopes to advance life cycle thinking with policymakers and customers around the globe. The Green House Gas (GHG) Material Comparison Model developed by the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Sciences under commission by WorldAutoSteel will be a key tool in WorldAutoSteel’s contributions to the Initiative.
“Life cycle assessment is of prime importance in evaluating vehicle emissions, particularly as powertrains move toward advanced fuel alternatives,” said Edward Opbroek, Director, WorldAutoSteel. “It is the only way that we can insure the avoidance of unintended consequences as the pressure builds towards reducing the vehicle carbon footprint.”
Material plays an important role in a vehicle’s total life cycle emissions. “Steel produces five to twenty times less green house gas emissions in the material production phase than other materials,” Opbroek said. “Though some weight savings may be achieved using alternative materials which could lower use phase tailpipe emissions, the impact to the environment over the vehicle’s total life cycle could be compromised.”
Established in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment within the UN system. It acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including UN entities, international organisations, national governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector and civil society.
SETAC is the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and is a Not-for profit Association. They have taken a leading role in the development of Life Cycle Management (LM) and the methodology of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The organisation is often quoted as a reference on LCA matters.
Commenting a UNEP spokesperson Guido Sonnemann, Programme Officer for Innovation and Life Cycle Management working with UNEP’s Division of Technology Industry and Economics (DTIE), Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch, said “Over the last three decades, the steel industry and UNEP have worked together on a number of cooperative initiatives and now we welcome them as a member of the leadership group of the LCI. We look forward to their participation and dedication to advancing the objectives of LCI, and especially their efforts to connect concepts with real-world applications through their WorldAutoSteel program.”
Joining the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative is further demonstration of the global steel industry’s commitment to improved environmental practices surrounding its products and their use in the world’s marketplace. To learn more about the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative, visit the LCI website.