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Life Cycle Assessment Regulatory Science and Innovation Network (LCARSIN)


New network to drive harmonisation in product environmental sustainability assessment


Academics from the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester together with Unilever have won funding to develop a new network to help the foundation industries use life cycle assessment tools to reduce their environmental impact.

The Network will bring together key stakeholders from industry to assess their specific needs, developing a proposal for integrating LCA-based evidence to support policymaking.

Discovery phase is underway with an open call for stakeholders to join a consultation, aimed at developing intended activities of the network.

Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester with Unilever are launching a new network that will assist the UK’s materials supply chain and policymakers in using life cycle assessment (LCA) more effectively to reduce environmental impacts across the supply chain.

The LCA Regulatory Science & Innovation Network (LCARSIN) will connect different parties to improve harmonisation in the use of LCA and offer insights on how to use LCA results more effectively to inform policy decisions as the UK aims for net zero emissions.

LCA is a powerful tool for determining environmental impacts and can be used to assist the transition to a more sustainable future. However, without consistent methods and common usage across sectors, decision-makers do not have the reliable information they need to act with certainty. To be useful, LCA must provide transparent and robust information, thereby enabling business and policy makers to take the best action to reduce environmental impacts whilst avoiding unintended consequences.

The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield, the Henry Royce Institute at the University of Manchester and the Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) in Unilever have been awarded funding by Innovate UK for the discovery phase of the new Network. The network will focus on the materials supply chain of the foundation industries, through to final product manufacturers.

LCARSIN will bring together industrial leaders, academic experts, innovative small businesses, research and technology organisations, professional bodies, non-government organisations and policymakers in the UK. Through the network, we will generate a proposal to integrate LCA-based evidence and insights to support government in developing policy to manage emissions environmental impacts, in areas such as net zero and trade in sustainable products.

LCARSIN will have two phases:

  • The initial discovery phase will bring together practitioners, regulators and data users to collaborate on the development of the network. This phase will identify the research required to harmonise and advance LCA, and the training, and standards development needed to address challenges in application.
  • The subsequent implementation phase will put this plan into practice by establishing and operating the network:
    • Enabling innovative research to address the specific needs identified through expert engagement during the discovery phase.
    • Encouraging the sharing and development of best practice through network events and working groups, and enable dissemination of sectoral guidance.
    • Identifying and enabling delivery of necessary training, both within the network and to the wider sector.

The discovery phase is set to begin this month (April 2024). The researchers are seeking stakeholders from the materials supply chain and relevant policy makers to take part in consultation activities, including online sessions and a workshop as the network is developed. For more information or to register your interest, please visit:

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