Keywords: life cycle management, LCM, project management, asset management, decision making, environmental assessment, social assessment, sustainable development, industrial ecology, manufacturing industry, product assessment, life cycle assessment, LCA, South Africa
The application of life cycle management in decision making for sustainable development at government and corporate level: the integration of project, asset and product life cycles
Governments and corporations are increasingly pressured to incorporate economic, environmental, and social performances in their policies and decision-making processes. Although Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has traditionally focused on the environmental impacts of the life cycle phases of products, the current trend is to apply Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) to also efficiently manage processes and projects (at government and corporate level). A prerequisite for aligning these processes and projects with the principles of sustainable development is a clear understanding of the various life cycles involved in a project and the interactions among these life cycles. Therefore, such a holistic Life Cycle Management (LCM) approach requires an effective integration of different life cycles. The way forward to achieve truly sustainable LCM in the manufacturing industry is subsequently outlined. Issues pertaining to the establishment of measurable indicators to evaluate the sustainability of the different life cycles are also discussed.