Calvin Woodings, Consulting Editor to Sustainable Nonwovens magazine gave the paper written with Adrian Wilson (Editor). He showed how LCAs, while being a good tool for helping to design less impactful products, have proved too flexible to be a basis for comparing different consumer products or for use in policy formulation. They are complex and costly studies where the output depends on the quality of data input and the assumptions made at the outset. For instance comparisons of disposable diapers with reusable diapers have invariably “proved” the preconceptions of the organisation carrying out the study. Furthermore, they are subject to wide margins of error even in the most easily quantified areas such as energy requirements, and conclusions drawn would not stand up to a rigorous statistical analysis.
In short they lack objectivity and should not be used to guide major policy changes such as the Renewable Energy Directive in the EU.
The slides used follow: