The Measurement Sciences Working Group has established the first iteration of an “Impact Bookshelf” of environmental metrics for use by Consortium Sector Working Groups. These metrics are the first in a series of metrics that will provide a comprehensive suite of impact categories to measure and communicate environmental impacts across all consumer products and sectors. The group was able to leverage the work done by both the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD, a program supported by the Joint Research Centre of the European Union) and the Global Packaging Project (GPP, a project established by the Consumer Goods Forum).

After establishing the initial Impact Bookshelf, the MSWG will then assess how the Consortium can best support the development of future metrics. The group will periodically review and update existing metrics on the Impact Bookshelf, and will monitor the development of new metrics for placement on the Bookshelf.

Both of the referenced projects assessed currently available impact assessment methodologies for accuracy, scientific robustness, transparency, and completeness, and then made recommendations as to the best available methodologies. The recommendations for each group were very similar, with only slight differences in the recommendations as to how the methods should be applied.

The MSWG is comprised of industry representatives and the primary authors of many of the leading methodological frameworks. The meetings were designed to reach general agreement on what methods to use and how they should be applied in a business context. The group reviewed, line by line, each methodology and then was able to expand the recommendations from the ILCD and the GPP into a framework to be used by Consortium companies and the Sustainability Measurement and Reporting System (SMRS).

The outcome of this review and recommendation is twofold: One, it provides the first iteration of consistent impact categories to be used by Consortium Sectors; and two, to help facilitate and promote global consistency across life cycle impact assessment metrics. The Consortium will continue to work with international businesses, scientists, and governments to establish globally accepted methodologies for use in LCA.