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Steel Industry Appeals for Life Cycle Thinking in Environmental Impact Studies
Sep 30, 2008
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Clare Broadbent, Manager Life Cycle Assessment of the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) issued an appeal that governments work together with the steel industry to utilise life cycle thinking as the most effective holistic approach that considers potential impacts on the environment from all stages of manufacture, product use, and end-of-life. Broadbent recently spoke in Shanghai at the Third Baosteel Biennial Academic Conference. She said, "The key to this is the recognition that a life cycle approach is the best way to assess a product’s impact on the environment and is therefore the best way to help society make informed decisions on the use of materials and their economic importance. Focusing solely on one aspect of a product’s life, such as the material production, distorts the real picture because it might ignore increased impact during another life cycle phase, such as the use phase." "Life cycle assessment takes into account the environmental impacts of the manufacturing processes of a product,” she continued, "the extraction of the raw materials used by these processes, the use and maintenance of the product by the consumer, its end–of-life (recycling, reuse, or disposal) as well as the various methods of transport occurring between every link of the chain." "An excellent example of the use of LCA is demonstrated in automotive studies, where the use of Advanced High-Strength Steels in the vehicle’s body structure results in CO2 savings when compared to other competing materials over the whole of the vehicles life, including manufacture and end of life as well as the use phase and tail-pipe emissions of the vehicle. So if all the cars produced in 2008 were made with Advanced High-Strength Steel, then approximate greenhouse gas savings over their lifetime would be 156 million tonnes," she concluded.

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