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From MarketWire

WOLFSBURG, GERMANY and GENEVA, SWITZERLAND–(Marketwired – Mar 3, 2014) -

  • More than EUR 10 billion for research and development for the first time
  • EU new vehicle fleet better than target, at about 128 grams CO2 / km
  • Already 54 model variants below 100 grams CO2 / km
  • Chairman of the Board of Management Prof. Dr. Winterkorn: "We have the world's largest low-CO2 fleet."

The Volkswagen Group is investing more than ever before in eco-friendly vehicles. Last year, Group research and development expenditure rose by 15 percent to the record value of EUR 10.2 billion. "The lion's share is going to ?green? technologies," Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, explained before the opening of the Geneva Motor Show. He said that the Group was reinforcing its objective to become the world's leading automaker, also in ecological terms, by 2018.

Successful interim assessment on the way to becoming the ecological leader Winterkorn added: "Volkswagen doesn't just talk — we also act. Last year, CO2 emissions by our EU new vehicle fleet averaged 128 grams/km. That means we are already well under the statutory threshold set for 2015." He said there had also been considerable progress in production: "We are taking great strides towards our goal of making our factories 25 percent more eco-friendly. Specifically, we aim to reduce energy and water consumption, as well as CO2 emissions, by 25 percent by 2018. Thanks to the creativity and dedication of our employees, we are already halfway to achieving this goal. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index also provides convincing proof that we set the ecological standards. The world's most important sustainability ranking listed Volkswagen in first place in 2013."

The world's largest low-CO2 fleet already on the road
Customers can currently choose between 54 model variants from Volkswagen Group brands that emit less than 100 grams CO2/km. 324 model variants are below 120 grams. Winterkorn: "The Volkswagen Group offers the world's largest low-CO2 fleet to have already taken to the road." The range includes 3-liter cars such as the Golf TDI BlueMotion1 or the Audi A3 TDI ultra2 as well as "3-euro cars" such as the eco up!3, which can travel 100 kilometers for about three euros. He said that the plug-in hybrids Golf GTE4 and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron5 were now being added to the "widest range of electric vehicles" — from the e-up!6 to the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid7. Winterkorn: "Further high-efficiency models such as the Audi A8, A6 and Q7 or the plug-in hybrid version of the Volkswagen Passat are to follow soon. Because this technology has a future."

Modular toolkits safeguard future orientation
The Group's modular strategy in production means that it will be possible to electrify more than 40 models over the next few years. Winterkorn: "Our modular toolkits place us in a position to develop and build our cars faster, more flexibly and more economically than in the past. We can offer even greater variety — as well as producing niche models in a profitable way. Our toolkits also mean that we can offer all our innovations and powertrains in all segments and markets within a very short space of time."

Life cycle assessments
Winterkorn announced that Volkswagen would consistently expand its sustainability program. "We are not satisfied with just making eco-friendly cars at eco-friendly plants. We conceive and shape mobility in holistic terms. From power generation, through development, production, sale and operation to the recycling stage. With an environmental strategy that is firmly anchored and measurable with respect to all the brands and regions of the Volkswagen Group." According to Winterkorn, a life cycle assessment, i.e. a balance sheet indicating the environmental impact of a vehicle over its entire life cycle, would be produced for more and more vehicles, in line with the life cycle engineering approach.

Implementation of the environmental strategy along the value stream
The environmental strategy of the Group is therefore being implemented in a binding, measurable way in all relevant business areas along the value stream. For this reason, the high sustainability requirements of the Group are now a firm component of contracts with suppliers. Volkswagen is also the first German automaker to have joined the Clean Shipping Network in order to analyze and reduce the environmental impact of marine transport. Another example is energy efficiency advice for all Volkswagen brand dealerships in Germany, with a view to reducing the CO2 emissions of partner companies by 25 percent by 2020.

1 Fuel consumption in l/100 km: urban 3.8 / extra urban 3.0 / combined 3.2; CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 85; efficiency class: A+
2 Fuel consumption in l/100 km: urban 3.8 / extra urban 3.0 / combined 3.2; CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 85; efficiency class: A+
3 Fuel consumption in natural gas (CNG) kg/100 km: urban 3.6 / extra urban 2.5 / combined 2.9; CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 79; efficiency class: A+
4 Fuel consumption in l/100 km (tbc): 1.5 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 35 (combined)
5 Fuel consumption in l/100 km (tbc): 1.5 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 35 (combined)
6 Energy consumption in kWh/100 km: 11.7 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 0 (combined); efficiency class: A+ 7 Fuel consumption in l/100 km: 3.1 (combined); energy consumption in kWh/100 km: 16.2 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 71 (combined); efficiency class: A+








Press Release from ASG:

4 February 2014 [Santa Rosa, CA] – The Automotive Science Group (ASG) conducted a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of over 1,300 automobiles across nine categories to distinguish the BEST model year 2014 vehicles in environmental, economic, social and “all-around” performance. Auto consumers are now equipped with a car buying guide founded on principled facts, a departure from the notoriously subjective test drive “editor reviews” that have long been the industry norm. 

"ASG’s 2014 study found the Nissan Leaf to hold the smallest life-cycle environmental footprint of any model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market (with minimum four person occupancy). This U.S. assembled, battery electric vehicle with an estimated 84 mile driving range is the best selling all-electric car in the world for good reason, and now consumers can be confident that the increased environmental impacts of manufacturing the battery electric technology is more than offset with increased environmental performance during operational life. While the electricity mix of the U.S. grid varies by region, the average mix in 2014 provides an energy source for the Nissan Leaf that is environmentally beneficial. Looking forward, energy forecasts identify a cleaner electricity mix across the U.S. grid, further increasing the environmental benefits of electric technologies in future years."

"From an economic standpoint, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark was revealed to have the lowest cost of ownership over a five-year economic forecast, taking into account purchase and operating costs of all model year 2014 automobiles available in the North American market (with minimum four person occupancy).

"And finally, from a social performance perspective – considering the rights of those charged with vehicle manufacture and assembly – the BMW Group and Nissan both produced award-winning vehicles in multiple classes, demonstrating sound corporate social responsibility initiatives."

Details of the study and the full press release can be found at the ASG website:


Press Relase  from FPE February 2014: A new report, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has benchmarked a number of Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) undertaken by Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), in a wide ranging, in depth, report to understand best practice in using LCA as an assessment tool for packaging. The report, produced under the Life Cycle Initiative – a joint organisation of UNEP and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) – summarizes the results of a project designed to consolidate outcomes of existing research on the environmental performance of packaging, namely LCA studies, in order to demonstrate the value of applying LCAs to evaluate environmental impacts for food and  beverage packaging. 

The report can be found here:  Life Cycle Initiative

Full press release can be found at FPE: UNEP Endorsement PR


Press release from the Poutry Science Association:

CHAMPAIGN, IL (January 22, 2014) – According to the results of a new study published in Poultry Science, the U.S. egg industry’s introduction of new technologies and production practices over the last 50 years has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the industry’s environmental footprint, even given today’s higher levels of egg production.

On a per-kilogram of eggs produced basis, the environmental footprint of the U.S. egg industry in 2010, versus 1960, was:

  • 71% lower in greenhouse gas emissions
  • 71% lower in eutrophying emissions
  • 65% lower in acidifying emissions

While table egg production was 30% higher in 2010 than 50 years prior, the study found impact factors were still sharply lower on an absolute basis:

  • 63% lower in greenhouse gas emissions
  • 63% lower in eutrophying emissions
  • 54% lower in acidifying emissions

The researchers determined that improvements in three key areas were responsible for the above reductions: feed efficiency, feed composition, and manure management.

The study is in the upcoming February issue of Poultry Science, published by the Poultry Science Association (PSA). (“Comparison of the environmental footprint of the egg industry in the United States in 1960 and 2010”; 2014 Poultry Science, vol. 93, no. 2:241-255;

PSA Press Release in full: HERE 

In their annual January Newsletter, "ECO Platform is becoming more and more important – Mutual recognition of EPDs EU-wide is the aim", the IBU (the Institue for Environment and Construction) announced spectacular growth of new EPDs.  For 2013, the number of issued EPDs grew from 350 to 600, nearly doubling in a single year from its inception.  Already in 2014, they've reached the benchmark of 200 company members.  

The IBU has also announced a partnership with UL Environment and SEMCo, providing international recognition of EPDs within Germany, North America and Sweden.

Read more about the growing EPD market place in Europe here: IBU Newsletter

ASTM has just announced a new version of the Product Category Rules (PCR) for concrete, the document used for developing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for concrete, was published this month by the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF). The new PCR, Version 1.1, takes the original PCR published in November 2012 and makes improvements to the document based on input from key experts in the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and experience gained during the yearlong period during which the original version was implemented. Both ASTM International and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) have adopted the PCR for use in their respective EPD programs.

The new PCR is published on the CLF website and details on verifying EPDs to the document are available at the ASTM and NRMCA websites, respectively.

The full press release is available on the ASTM website:  ASTM Newsroom

The Guidance for Product Category Rule Development has been released for public comment.This guidance document is a response to a widely recognized need for additional instruction on the development of rules specific to a category of products for making claims based on a life cycle assessment (LCA). The purpose is to supplement existing standards for LCA-based claims that require the development of product category rules (PCRs) or their equivalents. The aim is that PCRs can be developed in a consistent manner and used to support claims based on multiple standards. This document embodies the efforts of individuals with expertise in LCA and LCA-based product claims from more over 40 organizations in more than 14 countries and regions under the name of The Product Category Rule Guidance Development Initiative. More information can be found on our website,

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is hosting the draft, and comments are to be made through the CSA website.  Click here to review the draft and provide comments:

Registration is required for viewing and commenting on the document. Only comments received through the CSA online system will be accepted. Comments are due by Friday, March 1, 2013, 11:59 PM GMT 

From the co-leaders of The Product Category Rule Guidance Development Initiative

Wes Ingwersen and Vee Subramanian

Job Description:

A 2 year research contract, in the frame of a research project dedicated to the environmental assessment of the retrofit of residential building in Brussels, using Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA). The project is funded by the “Bruxelles-Capitale” Region. In addition to classical LCA, the project aims to expand the emerging “Social Life-Cycle Assessment” (s-LCA). The candidate works at the Free University of Brussels (ULB), in the Polytechnic School, under Prof. Marc Degrez. He/she closely cooperates with CSTC (Research Center for the Construction Industry) and with other members of a wide consortium: UCL (University of Louvain-la-Neuve), VUB (Flemish University of Brussels), Erasmus Hogeschool and other ULB departments.

Task description:
- Getting used to the building sector and to the studied systems: retrofitting operations, new concepts of urban wind turbines, energy storage systems,…
- Collecting field data about the building processes: identifying and quantifying the inputs and the outputs (field + meetings). Some of the systems are still under development.
- Getting used to LCA tools (EcoInvent, SimaPro) and applying them to the studied processes, to calculate their environmental footprint.
- Bringing new ideas in s-LCA and applying this method to study cases.
- Scientific forecasting in sustainability assessment and cleaner technologies.
- Supervision of master thesis students or training courses.
- Publication in journals, congresses or LCA databases.
- Becoming a member of our research team and participating in everyday tasks.
- Master in exact science (engineer, architect,…) or master in environment. No professional experience required.
- Having some knowledge in LCA is a plus, as well as notions about construction and/or renewable energies
- Languages: French (team language), English (official language of the project).
- Autonomous and well-organized. Ability to adapt to complex timetables.
- Rigor and efficiency in calculations (Microsoft Excel is a must).
- Ability to propose new concepts and to model them.
- Excellent communication skills: e-mails, meetings, phone, reports.
- Efficiency in data collection (persuasive skill).


Beginning: 1st February 2012

More about:

Send your CV and your cover letter to Pierre D’Ans and Professor Marc Degrez :,



University of Coimbra

Center for Industrial Ecology

Research Opportunity in Life Cycle Assessment and Bioenergy


Deadline: January 20, 2013

The Center for Industrial Ecology ( at ADAI and University of Coimbra has opened a research grant (for a PhD holder). The selected candidate will be working on the following MIT-Portugal project (2011-2013): “Capturing Uncertainty in Biofuels for Transportation. Resolving Environmental Performance and Enabling Improved Use”

The applicants should have a PhD in engineering, sciences or similar areas, preferably with experience in life-cycle assessment studies and in some of the following topics: bioenergy, operations research, decision analysis.

Tentative WorkPlan:

i) Collaborate on life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies of different types of biofuels

ii) Incorporate uncertainty analysis in LCA studies

iii) Combine LCA with other tools (e,g Multi Criteria Decision Analysis or Operation research

The grants follow the rules and amounts of Portuguese Research Grants funded by FCT:

Interested candidates shall send detailed Curriculum Vitae, including the relevant work experience to Prof. Fausto Freire ( preferably before January 20, 2013. The documents must include a motivation letter, detailed CV, course certificate, detailed academic transcripts (courses taken and respective grades, in Portuguese, English or French), as well as other pertinent documents (include email address and phone number).

To learn more about the University of Coimbra, its Energy for Sustainability initiative and the Center for Industrial Ecology, see the links: ,
and .

After 5 years the FTC has finally made its long anticipated Green Guides available, and not surprisingly, they delayed guidance on the use of LCA to support marketing claims.  This was an acceptable position to make back in early 1998 when LCA was still ramping up on the awareness curve.  Since then LCA to support marketing claims, particularly in the development of Product Category Rules (PCRs) for companies to produce Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) has grown substantially.  There are several  major standards and testing organizations (ULE and NSF International) that now exist as operators (entities the help develop and manage PCRs) and the USGBC is on the verge of release version 4 of its well-known LEED credit system. 

Reasons for continuing to analyze LCA based claims instead of providing guidance can be found in the Statement of Basis and Purpose, where “because it [FTC] lacked information about how consumers interpret these claims” and “due to the complexity of these claims, general advice is unlikely to be useful in any particular case.”


When things are complex, that is time when guidance is most useful.

I guess we’ll just have to wait until 2017 to see if the FTC will complete its analysis and actually provide guidance.  In the meantime the gap is being filled by non-profit organizations such as the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment developing more detailed guidance and the Global Environmental Declarations Network (GEDnet) which has a very useful library on PCRs developed around the globe: