Life Cycle Approaches to Sustainable Development

Life Cycle Approaches to Sustainable Development





Our process helps Canada achieve sustainable development solutions that integrate environmental and economic considerations to ensure the lasting prosperity and well-being of our nation.


We rigorously research and conduct high quality analysis on issues of sustainable development. Our thinking is original and thought provoking.


We convene opinion leaders and experts from across Canada around our table to share their knowledge and diverse perspectives. We stimulate debate and integrate polarities. We create a context for possibilities to emerge.


We generate ideas and provide realistic solutions to advise governments, Parliament and Canadians. We proceed with resolve and optimism to bring Canada’s economy and environment closer together.

Life Cycle Approaches to Sustainable Development

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Taking a Life Cycle Approach (LCA) to sustainable development involves identifying, understanding and reducing the environmental/material inputs and their impacts throughout the entire life cycle of a product, technology, or process.  LCA-based concepts, tools and methodologies also have the potential to increase production efficiencies, market share, and achieve greater economic competitiveness for the private sector.  The Minister of Environment has asked the NRT to consider how LCAs can truly contribute to bringing the environment and the economy together.

Program update

The NRT undertook research to better understand the drivers for life cycle approaches, the risks of not using such approaches and the opportunities associated with life cycle approaches. Results of this research were discussed with experts and stakeholders through various workshops and roundtable sessions between November 2011 and February 2012.

With this report, the NRT will give advice and recommendations to help the Government of Canada assess how Life Cycle Approaches could contribute to long-term sustainability in Canada. We will assess what role the Government could play to facilitate successful take-up of Life Cycle Approaches within government and in the private sector.

This report will emphasize the role life cycle approaches could play to enhance Canada’s competitiveness. It will also explore other potential benefits such as increased environmental and economic gains through the use of life cycle approaches within internal government operations and decision-making. It will point to a few key priority areas for actions for the Government of Canada, emphasizing the urgent need to address market access and trade issues affecting Canadian companies.

The report will be delivered to the Minister of the Environment at the end of March 2012 and released later in the spring.

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