This paper’s intent is to explore the environmental gap analysis tool, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as it pertains to the decision-making process.
As LCA is more frequently utilized as a measurement of environmental impact, it is prudent
to understand the historical and potential impact that LCA has had or can have on its inclusion in public policy domain - specifically as it intersects the anticipatory governance framework and the supporting decision-making precautionary principle framework. For that purpose, LCA will be examined in partnership with the Precautionary Principle in order to establish practical
LCA and Precautionary Principle have been used together in multiple functions. In two
case studies, the California Green Chemistry Initiative and in Nanotechnology uncertainty, there is a notion that these practices can create value for one another when addressing complex issues.
The recommendations presented in this paper are ones that recognize the current
dynamics of the LCA field along with the different sectors of decision makers. For effective
catalytic initiatives, adoptions of these recommendations are best initially leveraged by
government entities to lead by example. The proposed recommendations are summarized into
the following categories and explored in further detail later in the paper:
1. Improvement in data sharing capabilities for LCA purposes.
2. Common consensus on standards and technical aspects of LCA structure.
3. Increased investment of resource allocation for LCA use and development.