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May 2024 The Shift e-newsletter

Maximize LCA ROI Webinar | 25 Years of LCA Evolution | Data Visualization Guidance Resource | Upcoming Training

Free Webinar: 

Proven Approaches to Maximizing LCA ROI

DATE: June 13, 2024

TIME: 1pm-2pm ET


Karen Martinsen Fleming, CMO, EarthShift Global

John Rooks, Senior Research & Culture Advisor, EarthShift Global


Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a valuable scientific methodology for measuring the impacts of a product or process. The present global emphasis on climate change is driving significant interest in LCA, and, while important, there is so much more to be gained from LCA beyond measuring carbon emissions!

By considering the entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to disposal, an LCA enables organizations of all sizes and types to understand its impacts and where the greatest impacts occur. A well crafted LCA does more than measure carbon emissions - the results can be leveraged to identify opportunities for innovation, reduce waste, manage supply chains, improve resource efficiencies, design new products, craft sales & marketing materials, engage employees, and more.

In this webinar, taught by two highly experienced ESG sustainability professionals, we will discuss proven approaches to maximizing the return on your LCA investment.


Karen Martinsen Fleming has over 25 years of marketing, product development, strategy, and business management experience and has been active in sustainable business for over two decades. Her career includes leadership positions at Stonyfield Farm and Seventh Generation where she was responsible for the brand foundation, strategy, and national rollout of these two widely recognized leaders in sustainable business.

She also has extensive teaching experience in sustainable business, marketing and entrepreneurship. She served as Professor of sustainable business and director of the Sustainable MBA program at Green Mountain College, the nation’s leading college for sustainability, and as President of the Harvard Business School Green Alumni Network.

Karen supports ESG clients with strategy, marketing, communications, new product development, reporting, materiality assessments, and organizational design.

She earned an MBA from Harvard University and a BA from Dartmouth College.

John Rooks approaches sustainability with a cultural lens. He has worked with companies of various size from Fortune 10 to start-ups helping them understand sustainability in a cultural context, and unlock the power that comes from an aligned corporate culture.

John has a degree in Writing and Cultural Theory from PennWest Clarion, and is a frequent writer and professional speaker on the intersection of sustainability and culture.

John has completed profoundly revealing in-depth research into consumer and other stakeholder beliefs and actions around sustainability. This research includes ethnographic explorations into our relationships with the things we buy (and discard) employee sentiment with corporate actions, and supplier actions following standard corporate sustainability surveys. This culture-first lens is critical to managing our impacts on society and the environment and is an integral part of double materiality assessments.

John’s approach to sustainability results in more robust employee attraction and retention programs, more compliant supply chains, and an aligned corporate ecosystem that is required to reach aggressive and critical sustainability goals.


Broad Acceptance of LCA is One of the Greatest Victories During my 25+ Years of Sustainability Work

By Lise Laurin, CEO & Founder, EarthShift Global

Figure 1. References to Life Cycle Assessment 1993 - 2023. Datasource: Environmental Science & Technology

LCA’s transparency, flexibility, and scientific foundation give us unprecedented ability to assess and manage impacts and pursue effective sustainability goals

Day-to-day environmental news features so much polarization, pushback, and general doom-saying that it’s easy to be discouraged. But on the flip side, after 25 years of sustainability work, I can say with confidence that our collective ability to assess, anticipate, and manage impacts is stronger than ever, largely because of our success in winning broad mainstream acceptance of life cycle assessment (LCA).

An LCA quantifies and interprets flows to and from the environment over the entire life cycle of a product or service — the impacts of materials and energy used for production, as well as use and disposal. Result: a comprehensive and previously unavailable system-wide view of the true environmental tradeoffs inherent in a vast range of product-related decisions and selections.

When I started my first consulting business in 2000, this type of analysis was hardly mainstream. I used to say that my market was the Fortune 10 and a handful of universities.

Today, while it isn’t the sort of thing that makes headlines, LCA explicitly underpins many recent US environmental policies and laws (including tax credit programs introduced or enhanced in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act), as well as the newly propagated Canadian Clean Fuel Regulation and a host of initiatives in the European Union, China, Japan, and elsewhere. And for an even wider range of public programs, LCAs have evolved from being a suggestion to an option, and now increasingly a requirement.

Global uptake of this type of analysis, including the growing fields of carbon accounting and environmental footprinting, is one of sustainability’s great victories, something we could only dream about in my early days. It’s the result of a gradual decades-long process, an example of what writer Rebecca Solnit calls “the long trajectory of change behind current events…the slow journey of ideas from the margins to the center, seeing what is invisible, then deemed impossible, become widely accepted."

LCA’s slow and steady advancement can be seen in Figure 1 above, which shows the annual number of articles referencing Life Cycle Assessment published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. After just a handful in the 1990s, the rate kicked up in the early 2000s and, after some moderation, has surged again in 2022 and 2023. And in parallel, the subject matter has evolved from basic methodological questions to tightly focused assessments of specific situations.

Read More

After months of diligent work, we're thrilled to unveil our latest project: A guidance document on effective ways to visualize life cycle assessment results

EarthShift Global's Data Visualization Specialist, Tess Konnovitch, partnered with Gianni Guglielmi, an Engineer & Life Cycle Analyst at Key Logic, to combine their experience and research insights with valuable feedback from industry experts gathered at a recent conference. Together, they created a comprehensive document that offers a roadmap for effective data visualization strategies.Whether you're a seasoned professional or just dipping your toes into the world of LCA, this resource equips you with the tools and techniques needed to unlock the full potential of your data. From selecting the right visualization methods to interpreting results with clarity and precision, we've got you covered every step of the way.Special thanks to all who contributed their expertise and insights to make this project possible. Your input has been invaluable in shaping this resource into a valuable asset for the LCA community.

Access the Guidance Resource here: Guidance Document - How to Effectively Visualize LCA Results_FINAL4.23.pdf

Upcoming Online Training

Introduction to Organizational Life Cycle Assessment - Free

May 15, 2024

Advanced Life Cycle Assessment - Interpretation

May 22-23, 2024

Practical Life Cycle Assessment

May 29-30, 2024 and recorded on demand

Organizational Life Cycle Assessment - 3 hours

June 4, 2024

Introduction to Sustainability Assessment

June 12, 2024

Learn More