Keywords: life cycle assessment, LCA, small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, streamlined LCA, simplified LCA, checklist, matrix, VerdEE, environmental issues
VerdEE: a tool for adoption of life cycle assessment in small and medium sized enterprises in Italy
The Italian National Agency for New Technology, Energy and the Environment (ENEA) carried out a project focused on identifying the main difficulties and problems of the introduction of the life cycle concept in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and also on overcoming these difficulties. A new tool, VerdEE, was developed to evaluate the environmental profile of a product based on a well-defined criteria system. The procedure includes checklist and the automatic interpretation of results in matrix and target-plot forms. Checklist questions deal either with quantitative, qualitative and improvement aspects of material and energy flows guided by objective valuation rules and recommended scores. The combination of structural innovations, methodological improvements and self-assessment characteristics made VerdEE different compared to other streamlined life cycle assessment (LCA) methods and helped it to achieve its specific goals. A comparison with detailed LCA results was also carried out. The results were very similar regarding identification of significant life cycle stages and environmental problems.