Life cycle thinking means accounting for economic, environmental and social impacts across all stages of a product or process life cycle. This perspective informs the design team of the product’s life cycle impacts across a range of sustainability issues (i.e. greenhouse gas emissions, jobs created, daily average life years, etc.).
It’s not always easy for companies to decide which design alternatives are better. So, it’s up to the company to compare life cycle impacts of a product or process to their mission and goals.
Life cycle thinking is based on and requires using some form of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), such as:
The typical life cycle stages companies consider when evaluating the impacts of a product or service are listed below. The number of stages to include in your life cycle thinking depends on the product or process. Transportation between all stages should be included as well: