Track: Sustainability and Green Systems
Many industries face the challenge of coalescing economic development with a decrease in environmental burden that has brought more stress on life support systems, pushing the environmental impacts closer to the threshold limits of tolerance. Therefore, it is fundamental that the industrial system focuses on the consideration of the whole life cycles of the products, processes, infrastructures and other industrial activities during the designing and restructuring of processes through Life Cycle Thinking (LCT). The theoretical and methodological aspects in research is reviewed in literature where Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was applied to environmental management. LCA has been used to identify potential environmental impacts from production to the end user and measures put in place to mitigate and minimise them. Application of LCA in environmental management calls for industries to be proactive in the design of new products, improve those that exist and develop cleaner manufacturing processes as the world is moving towards a Circular Economy The application of LCA is a useful (though labour intensive) tool in analysing environmental benefits of synergies in an industrial system. The review identified gaps identified, suggestions to guide future research are made. Literature revealed that there is a need to research more on the possibility of LCA methods that are less complex especially in Inventory Analysis (IA). The methods should be affordable but giving reliable data that can be used for decision making. Another area of research is the development of a framework that is region specific especially in the African region considering that most tools used are European based.