Victorian Branch Meeting, Tuesday 27th May

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SSAI – Victorian Branch Meeting


Life Cycle Assessment: calculating environmental impact

Tim Grant

Life Cycles Strategies


5:45pm – Light refreshments in the Staff Tea Room, Richard Berry Building, The University of Melbourne.

6:15pm – Seminar in Evan Williams Theatre, Richard Berry Building, The University of Melbourne.

7:30pm – Dinner with Tim at Café Italia.


Please note the change of venue to the new Evan Williams Theatre.


About Tim

Tim Grant is a specialist in life cycle assessment (LCA) with sixteen years’ experience developing and applying LCA and ecological footprints with a wide range of companies and organisations. His work spans across many different sectors including agriculture, energy, fuels, water products, buildings and waste management.


Tim was the founding President for Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society (ALCAS) and has been on the executive of ALCAS for the last 12 years. He has taught LCA in six universities in Australia and Asia and runs professional development courses in LCA practice.


Tim is the Director of Life Cycle Strategies Pty Ltd and an Adjunct Research Fellow with CSIRO.  Prior to these positions, Tim worked as the Manager of Life Cycle Assessment program at RMIT University Centre for Design.



Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an internationally recognised methodology for calculating the environment impacts of products and services from cradle to grave.  LCA works at a global level to predict environmental consequences of production and consumption.   One of the key aspects of LCA is to avoid burden shifting between different environmental end points.  This necessitates the assessment of multiple environment issues at a global level and over time.  Such an ambitious scope puts very high demands on data inputs into LCA.


Data used in LCA vary from the very specific data measured at a facility level up to national statistical data on economic exchanges between different sectors of the economy.  A typical model of the supply chain will include over 2,000 unit processes which include over 100,000 individual substance flows.


For modelling environmental indicators substance fate models are developed to account for local, regional and global flows of substances through the environment.  This is used to determine the time integrated exposure of people and ecosystems to pollutants.  Once the exposure is calculated, statistics are used to identify the amount of disease caused by the pollutant and ultimately the damage to human health and human life.


While it is common to measure uncertainty through the inventory stage of LCA, the assessment of uncertainty for indicator development is less well progressed.  Two different types of modelling are undertaken in LCA.  In the techno-sphere the models are verifiable and have uncertainties usually between 20% to 50%.  The models of the ecosphere however cannot be verified, and are considered useful with uncertainties of up to two orders of magnitude.  Ultimately the aim of life cycle assessment is to give directional information between different consumption options, so the quality of the data required needs to be sufficient to point in the correct direction without necessarily getting the absolute value correct.


You are invited to join Tim for dinner at Café Italia after the meeting.


Free car parking is not available on campus.  There is easy access by public transport.


Information about car parking at the University can be found at:


A map of the Parkville campus can be found at:

Victorian Branch Meeting, Tuesday 27th May
When: 27/05/2014
Time: 6:15 pm - 7:30 pm
Cost: Free
Location: Evan Williams Theatre, Richard Berry Building,
Ground Floor,
The University of Melbourne,

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