The Resource Efficiency through Application of Life cycle thinking (REAL) project is implemented by UN Environment. The project is running from 2016 until 2019, with financial support from the European Commission. 

The REAL project aims to integrate resource efficiency in global value chains. To do this, it uses life cycle data on environmental impacts. This enables private and public organizations to make informed choices that lead to increasingly sustainable consumption and production (SCP). The project aims to develop local resources and capacities for applying life cycle data and Life Cycle Thinking (LCT), while demonstrating value from the approach.

Two key enabling conditions tackled by the project:

  • Life cycle data accessibility and interoperability will be enhanced by facilitating global cooperation around Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) database networking and national LCA database improvement; and,
  • Capacity will be developed through a series of training activities as well as through increased access to eLearning tools on LCT (i.e. through enhancing the capacity and practical expertise of LCT among policy makers in target countries, and in applying it).

Project activities:

  • Pilot projects have been initiated in four countries (India, Thailand, Guatemala, and Nicaragua). Each project addresses the application of LCT and tools in specific value chains (food, palm oil, and coffee). The projects are funded through the REAL project and will be finalised by the end of 2018.
  • A Technical Helpdesk for National LCA Databases was set up. The Helpdesk provides a forum for LCA data experts, developers of new national databases, managers of existing databases, and other interested individuals. It provides stakeholders wishing to establish and operate LCA databases with both training and support by international experts. Further information on how to participate in the helpdesk is available here.
  • The e-learning module ‘Introduction to Life Cycle Thinking’ was co-developed with the Life Cycle Initiative. The module provides a quick and simple, informative course on Life Cycle Thinking and its application in public policies, in business and for consumers. The module is available in English and Spanish.
  • Contributing to the Global LCA Data Access network (GLAD), currently under development. GLAD aims to achieve better data accessibility and interoperability and will be comprised of independently-operated LCA databases (nodes), allowing users to find and access life cycle inventory datasets from different dataset providers.

Please contact Ms. Kristina Bowers for more information on the REAL project.