Round table discussion

Round Table “Harmonisation beyond standardisation”

When: 13 November 2013, 11:00 – 13:30

Chair of the Round Table: Paolo Masoni, LCA&Ecodesign Laboratory – ENEA (Italy), SETAC Europe Immediate Past President

Introduction and goal of the Round Table

ISO 14040 and 14044 provide a standardised framework for carrying out LCA, contributing to its widespread application as method for quantifying the environmental performance of products, and to make it part of policy documents and legislation. However, this framework leaves the practitioners with a range of influential choices, which can affect the reliability and comparability of the results of the assessment[1]. As a result, several private and public initiatives have been developed over the years, trying to harmonise the different approaches and methodological solutions developed, with the goal of improving the comparability of LCA studies.

In this context, the communication of the EC on Building the Single Market for Green Products and the Commission Recommendation on the use of the Product Environmental Footprint method have been recently issued. They aim to improve the availability of clear, reliable and comparable information on the environmental performance of products and organisations, to allow competition based on environmental performance, and to allow consumers and businesses to take informed decisions. In parallel, similar initiatives at international level have been undertaken.

We have invited key players at international level from business, academia and government to engage in a timely and challenging Round Table discussion about the role of the harmonization.

How to position the different harmonization initiatives and what consequences can be expected by their implementation, from the perspective of the scientific community and of the business world?

Could harmonization give rise to adverse effects, such as oversimplification and contradicting guidance?

In which contexts do we need harmonization and when instead do we need orchestration, i.e. coordination of the initiatives, so to maintain diversity and specificity in the different contexts?


The discussion will be shaped around few key questions to the speakers, taking into account both technical aspects and political consequences.

11:00 – 11:15 Introduction to the Round Table (Paolo Masoni)

11:15 – 13:00 A dialogue with the invited speakers

13:00 – 13:30 Discussion with the audience

The following organisations and speakers have already confirmed their participation:

From government:

  • David Pennington (European Commission Directorate General-Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, Italy)
  • Llorenç Mila i Canals (UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative)

From industry:

  • David Cockburn (Tetrapak);
  • Christian Bauer (SIG International Services GmbH and chair of the SETAC Europe LCA Steering Committee).

From academia:

  • Roland Clift (Emeritus Professor of Environmental Technology, Centre for Environmental Strategy - University of Surrey);
  • Michael Z. Hauschild (Professor, head of division Quantitative Sustainability Assessment, MAN-QSA DTU Management Engineering)
  • Bo Weidema (Professor at Aalborg University, The Faculty of Engineering and Science - Department of Development and Planning)


The Round Table is open to all the participants of the LCA Case Study Symposium. No additional registration is required.

Contact info

For any information about the Round Table, please contact Paolo Masoni and/or Alessandra Zamagni, chair of the LCA Case Study Symposium.

[1] Recchioni M, Mathieux F, Goralczyk, Schau EM (2012) ILCD Data Network and ELCD database: current use and further needs for supporting Environmental Footprint and Life Cycle Indicator Projects. ISBN 978-92-79-28179-2