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Argumentation Corrected Context Weighting-Life Cycle Assessment: A Practical Method of Including Stakeholder Perspectives in Multi-Criteria Decision Support for LCA

Abstract : Despite advances in the data, models, and methods underpinning environmental life cycle assessment (LCA), it remains challenging for practitioners to effectively communicate and interpret results. These shortcomings can bias decisions and hinder public acceptance for planning supported by LCA. This paper introduces a method for interpreting LCA results, the Argumentation Corrected Context Weighting-LCA (ArgCW-LCA), to overcome these barriers. ArgCW-LCA incorporates stakeholder preferences, corrects unjustified disagreements, and allows for the inclusion of non-environmental impacts (e.g., economic, social, etc.) using a novel weighting scheme and the application of multi-criteria decision analysis to provide transparent and context-relevant decision support. We illustrate the utility of the method through two case studies: a hypothetical decision regarding energy production and a real-world decision regarding polyphenol extraction technologies. In each case, we surveyed a relevant stakeholder group on their environmental views and fed their responses into the model to provide decision support that is relevant to their perspective. We found marked differences between results using ArgCW-LCA and results from a conventional analysis using an equal-weighting scheme, as well as differentiation between stakeholder preference groups, indicating the importance of applying the perspective of the particular stakeholder group. For instance, there was a rank reversal of alternatives when comparing between an equal weighting approach for all environmental and economic dimensions and ArgCW-LCA. ArgCW-LCA provides opportunity for both public and private sector incorporation of LCA, such as in developing enlightened stakeholder value measures. This is achieved through enabling the LCA practition to provide public and private actors' interpreted LCA results in a manner that incorporates educated stakeholder perspectives. Furthermore, the method encourages stakeholder multiplicity through participatory design and policymaking that can enhance public backing of actions that can make society more sustainable.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 27, 2020 - 10:14:09 AM
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Joshua Sohn, Pierre Bisquert, Patrice Buche, Abdelraouf Hecham, Pradip Kalbar, et al.. Argumentation Corrected Context Weighting-Life Cycle Assessment: A Practical Method of Including Stakeholder Perspectives in Multi-Criteria Decision Support for LCA. Sustainability, MDPI, 2020, 12 (6), pp.2170. ⟨10.3390/su12062170⟩. ⟨hal-02555136⟩

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