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From footprints to handprints: clutching at straws?

April 17, 2014  

A couple of years ago TIME magazine rated Handprints among the “10 ideas that are changing your life”. This statement would tend to suggest that either your life is pretty stagnant or that maybe it is worth examining what the handprint hype is about. Has it changed our lives? Handprints are the converse of footprints. Where footprints carry negative connotations – generally about the burdens th...

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  • Wheel of Fortune, no segment
    A New Development Paradigm?
    April 10, 2014  

    ‘Development’ might be a fuzzy concept, but it is essentially concerned with fostering conditions that are socially desirable. Despite the interventions of such scholars as Amartya Sen, with his focus on human development, for too long the concepts of ‘development’ and ‘economic growth’ have been used interchangeably – economic growth has remained development’s proxy Whilst economic growth might be one means to development, it is not the end itself. Industrial ecologist Robert Ayres notes that it simply “reflects increasingly frantic activity, especially trade, but little or no progress in ...

  • Product environmental footprinting: Harmonization or proliferation of standards?
    March 20, 2014    1 Comment

     Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a means of determining the environmental impact of a product, process or activity. It abstracts that “thing” from its surrounds and assesses its material interaction with the ecosystem in terms of particular impacts. Such impacts include climate, water, human health etc. With the burgeoning awareness in recent years of the unprecedented alterations that humanity is inflicting upon planet earth – especially its thermoregulatory system – demand has grown for LCA based product declarations: product environmental footprinting (PEF). The PEF World Forum defines a ...

  • ktf_life-cycle
    26 Life-Cycle-Based Business Strategies that Matter
    October 21, 2013  

    We've all heard of the sharing economy. We're all aware of the need for double decoupling. We all know that our resource consumption needs to drop drastically. But still, nothing is less disputed than our enjoyment of more money, be it a raise, a growing business or an increasing GDP. Isn't that contradictory? Well, yes and no. In terms of business strategies, here's how to get to both at the same time. Yoon-Young Chun and Kun-Mo Lee are the two studious Korean researchers whose findings I would like to introduce in this article. They identified 105 business cases that were influenced early...

  • ktf_umberto-tutorial
    Making an LCA in 1 Hour – How to Get Going with Umberto
    September 19, 2013  

    SimaPro and GaBi are the most commonly used software tools to conduct a professional life cycle assessment. There is, however, a third solution in this field, one that is capable of not only calculating product life cycles, but also modeling and improving entire production systems. That integrative solution is called Umberto. While Umberto's extensive feature list may have initially confused some practitioners in the past, and the interface was sometimes deemed unintuitively technical, let me convince you in this article that the opposite is the actual case now. Especially since the launch of ...

  • ktf_milk-vs-soy-milk
    The Cow, Black Sheep of Our Climate
    September 6, 2013  

    Right after driving, flying, heating, and cooling, consuming meat and dairy products weighs the most heavily on our lifestyle related climate budget. While it is clear that fossil fuel powered cars, airplanes, heaters and air conditioners have a terrible carbon footprint, what's the deal with cows, really? Is dairy all that bad? Assuming this to be the case, what options are there to replace them? How do soy milk and other alternatives score in their overall environmental impacts compared to traditional milk? In this article, we'll analyze the life cycle of milk and relate it to soy milk, and ...

  • ktf_user-workshop2
    Top-Notch Sustainability Practitioner Gathering: Umberto User Workshop in Essen, Sept 11/12, 20 ...
    August 7, 2013  

    When the only way to implement a satisfactory future in human development is holistic thinking about sustainability, why is it that we so rarely happen to come across aids for realizing this mindset? Well, it's a good question, but they actually do appear from time to time. An outstanding example every year is practitioners from business and academia coming together at the umberto user workshop to showcase their manifold ways of tackling sustainability and efficiency challenges. In their respective companies and research projects, they each face all sorts of questions concerning their many dif...

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    Turning World War II History into a Renewable Present – 3 Striking Sustainable Adaptations from ...
    July 24, 2013  

    Hamburg, Germany's second-largest city, saw more than half its building stock destroyed during world war II. The war is way over, but many buildings still tell of its story. A big building-exhibition now displays dozens of contemporary projects that accept the past and envision a conflict preventing future by retrofitting the built-up war and post-war heritage with climate friendly, energy efficient updates. From the exhibition's pool of 40 buildings and projects only a few of the projects relate directly to WWII history, but all follow one of three themes, the most important being, in my opin...

  • ktf_freighter-travel
    Long-Distance, Low-Impact? Inside Cargo Ship Travelling
    July 9, 2013  

    As I sail through the English Channel and complete my last miles around the world on a reefer vessel, accompanying 5000 tons of kiwifruit on their way from New Zealand to Europe, let me share some thoughts I've had during the past few weeks on the sustainability of this transport mode. To start with, here are a few answers to the most common questions. Yes, today's cargo ships employ engine technology that emits horrible amounts of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulates. However, putting these emissions in perspective with each item transported, ships are more energ...

  • Material flow Network with Sankey Diagram Arrows, showing the mass flows of cotton (green) and water (blue)
    5 Steps towards Maximum Resource Efficiency Part 2: Material Flow Modeling, MFCA and LCA Made E ...
    June 4, 2013  

    Last week, I introduced you to the first three steps small and medium-sized companies need to take to increase their resource efficiency to a maximum. Today, you'll find the last two of the five steps involved in making the most use of material flow modeling. Step 4: Calculate Product Costs Related to Material Loss Broken down to one product, how much do my materials cost? That's an appropriate question. In addition, material flow cost accounting can determine how much material is “lost” in every single process and every possible material cost. Viere et al.: From the perspective of resource...

  • Material flow Network with Sankey Diagram Arrows, showing the mass flows of cotton (green) and water (blue)
    5 Steps towards Maximum Resource Efficiency: Material Flow Modeling Made Easy
    May 29, 2013    2 Comments

    When calculating and reducing business-related environmental effects, two different approaches are traditionally taken. There is the product centered concept on the one hand, and the production centered one on the other. A typical product-centered approach is the carbon footprint, for instance. The second category focuses on the emissions of the entire production process, usually found in sustainability reports or environmental certifications of production plants, e.g. EMAS or ISO 14001. Actually, this differentiation between product and production is quite arbitrary because products and pro...

  • ktf_sust-reporting
    5 Clear-Cut Economic Benefits of Sustainability Reporting
    May 15, 2013  

    Business is not responsible for society. Business is society. Entrepreneur, manager, employee, customer – no matter what role you play, there is one fact you cannot deny: as soon as you participate in the market, you are the economy. It has often been proposed that prostitution is the oldest enterprise in the history of humankind, but that's wrong. Actually, even older than prostitution, is trading goods. Trade, and trade-off, is a benefit so essential to human interaction that even the most primitive societies relied on it. The principle of trade lies at the core of society. You give and you ...

  • Picture by Dennis Jarvis, Showing Metlaoui Phosphate Mine in Tunisia. CC BY SA 2.0
    How to Recycle Phosphorus, the Most Least-Known Scarce Resource
    May 6, 2013    2 Comments

    Picking up on “sustainable agriculture”, most people think of free range chicken. They imagine livestock on green pastures. Some better informed would probably imagine a few optimized chemical and physical cycles, drip irrigation, compost based fertilizer, and limited pesticides. Haber-Bosch, the couple of celebrated innovators that revolutionized nitrogen supply, may be a name that quite a few are familiar with. However, although every one of us consumes farmed products every single day, it goes beyond average knowledge that our crops need various nutrients to grow and only a relatively few p...

  • ktf_MFCA-nutshell
    ISO 14051-Based Material Flow Cost Accounting in a Nutshell
    May 1, 2013    4 Comments

    The ISO 14000 series has proved to be handy for quite a while now. Companies and public institutions have valued the universal guidelines for all sorts of environmental management procedures – energy management, carbon footprinting and life cycle assessment, to name the most important ones. Two years ago, a new seed was planted in the ISO 14000 orchard, bearing the name ISO 14051. This new norm was equipped with the powerful claim of combining the material and energy efficiency improvements already known from the other norms with measures to increase cost efficiency as well. In order to match ...

  • Umberto_NXT_LCA_results_640
    Discovering All Environmental Effects: How Life Cycle Assessment with LCA Software Works
    March 26, 2013    1 Comment

    Environmental effects are extremely complex, that’s why they’re impossible to measure, so let’s not bother about them too much and keep producing and consuming the way we have over the past 100 years! Why should we change that anyway? Isn’t the GDP still growing after all? Don’t we lead a comfortable good life? Even though this approach may seem strikingly ignorant to some of you, it appears to be common sense among mainstream business people and a general majority in most societies. And, yes, everything is complex indeed: the supply chains of global retailers, the climate, the just-in-time...

20-20-20 Objectives

2012

3 scopes

3D printing

academia

ACHEMA

acidification

agriculture

air quality

aluminum

Ankara

antarctic ozone hole

apocalypse

assessment

atmospheric carbon measurement

B2B

Bachelor program

background database

BASF

battery change station

best practice

bio capacity

bio-economy

biocapacity

biodiversity

biological gas treatment

biomass

blogs

BMBF

books

Brazil

building sector

building standards

business opportunity

carbon

carbon accouting

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carbon footprint

carbon footprinting

carbon free city

carbon intensity

carbon leakage

carbon management

carbon neutral

carbon neutrality

carbon reduction

carbon relocation

carbon tax

carbon-neutral travel

cargo shipping

carton

central america

central asia

certification

CFC

change

chemical industry

China

circular flow economy

city

climate change

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climate impact

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climate protection

club of rome

co2-equivalent

cogeneration

combined reporting

commercial sector

commons

comparative life cycle assessment

Competence Center

composite indicator

compost

composting

consistency

construction

consumption

container ship

copenhagen

corporate carbon footprint

corporate culture

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Corporate Social Responsibility

cost accounting

cost-effective measures

Country Attractiveness

cradle to cradle

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Critique of the Green Economy

cross-collaboration

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customer-driven sustainability

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dairy

Dashboard of Sustainability

database

de-growth economy

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denmark

design

developing countries

developing world

development cooperation

distributed manufacturing

domestic fuel consumption

domestic sector

double decoupling

e!Sankey

e-car

e-mobility

e-sankey

earth overshoot day

Earth Sciences

Earth summit

eCarUs

eco city

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eco label

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ecoinvent

ecologic footprint

ecological footprint

ecological resilience

ecological tax reform

economic indicators

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ecovillage

education

efficiency

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efficiency investment

efficiency measures

efficient construction

Effizienzfabrik

EHS

eLCAr

electric car

emerging economies

emission gap

emission relocation

emissions

EMS

energiewende

energy

energy contracting

energy efficiency

Energy Efficiency Directive

energy efficiency in production

energy efficient production

Energy Intensity by Sector

energy management

energy performance

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energy sources

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engineering excellence

Enhipro

enms

environment

Environment Ministry

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Environmental Governance

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environmental labeling

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environmental policy

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environmental standard

Environmental Sustainability Index

environmental technology verification

Environmentally Harmful Subsidy

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EPD

EU

Europe

European Comission

european commission

European Green Cars Initiative

European Sustainable Development Strategy

eutrophication

EVALEAU

events

external effects

fashion

FIFA

fish

fishery

food footprint

food industry

food production

food sector

footprinting

forest ecosystems

forestry

fouling

FPC

freighter travel

full cost accounting

gate-to-gate

gate-to-gate approach

geopolymer cement

Germany

Ghana

GHG emissions

GHG mitigation

GHG reduction

GHG reduction goals

glass

Global Compact

global justice

global warming

governance

green building

green buildings

green business

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green Christmas

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green consumers

green economy

green growth

green investment

green jobs

green living

green new deal

green paradox

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greenhouse gas reduction

greenhouse gases

GRI

handprinting

Happy Life Years

harmonization

HDPE

Herman Daly

HFC

holistic approach

holistic sustainability

human development index

HVAC

IEA

IFEU

ifu hamburg

ILCD Handbook

impact assessment

impact category

incentive

Incentive-based pay

incineration

India

industrial ecology

industrial location choice

industrial production

industrial sector

information design

innovation

input output

input-output databases

input-output economics

InReff

insulation

Integrated Reporting

integrative approach

internalization of externalities

international standards

interplant collaboration

IPCC

ISO

ISO 14000

ISO 14001

ISO 14015

ISO 14025

ISO 14031

ISO 14040

ISO 14046

ISO 14051

ISO 14064

ISO 14067

ISO 50001

knowledge economy

Kyoto protocol

LCA

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LCA software

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lean manufacturing

LEED

life cycle

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life cycle engineering

life cycle inventory

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life cycle thinking

life style

lifecycle

limits to growth

LinkedIn

living planet report

Long-Term Pay

low carbon economy

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low-energy house

management models

manufacturing industry

masdar city

master program

material consumption

material efficiency

material flow

material flow accounting

Material Flow Accounts

material flow analysis

material flow balance

material flow cost accounting

material flow cost analysis

Material Flow Management

material flow modeling

material flowcosts

material flows

meat

mechanical-biological treatment

media

metal industry

methodology

Mexico

MFA

MFCA

milk

modeling

Montreal Protocol

municipal solid waste

nature conservation

Nepal

NIMBY

nitrate pollution

nuclear phase out

nutrients balance

nutrients cycle

OECD

OECD Environment Policy Committee

oligolopoly

Online Resource Efficiency Platform OREP

operational efficiency

organic agriculture

outsourcing

ozone layer recovery

packaging

PAS

passive house

PET

philippines

phosphorus

photovoltaics

pilot program

pinch analysis

plastic industry

policy

policy instruments

politics

pollution haven hypothesis

post growth economy

post oil age

PR

process engineering

process heat

process improvement

process modeling

Process Optimization

process system engineering

product carbon footprint

product environmental footprint

production

production circle

production planning

production system

Production-based CO2 Productivity

productivity

PUMA

PVC

qatar

quality

quality journalism

quantified self

Rapid prototyping

rebound effect

recycling

refuse-derived fuel plant

remuneration

remuneration of environmental performance

renewable energy

renewable energy in manufacturing

renewable heat

renewable hydrogen

renewable methane

renewable process heat

renewable raw material

Renewable Resources

renewable thermal energy

resilience

resource conflicts

resource efficiency

Resource Efficiency Framework

resource flows

resource politics

resource productivity

resources

retailer

RFID

Rio+20 summit

rising material demand

risk management

Rolf Dobelli

sankey diagram

saving potentials

savings

scope 3

seafood

season's greetings

seattle

shopping rage

smart grid

smart meter

SMB

social cost accounting

social media

Social-Ecological Resilience

software

solar energy

solar heat

solar thermal energy

South Africa

South America

South Korea

soy milk

stakeholder management

standards

statistics

steady state economy

steel

strong sustainability

studies

sufficiency

supermarket chain

sustainability

sustainability control

sustainability indicators

sustainability innovation

sustainability management

sustainability performance

sustainability projects

sustainability reporting

Sustainability Science

sustainability strategy

sustainability triangle

sustainable agriculture

sustainable architecture

sustainable business

sustainable construction

sustainable development

sustainable housing

sustainable lifestyle

Sustainable Living

Sustainable Process Index

Sustainable Resource Management

sustainable transport

sydney

system analysis

tajikistan

Tesco

textile industry

textile refinement

Tobias Viere

total material consumption

trade

transparency

transport

transport emissions

transport sector

trends

triple bottom line principles

Turkey

Umberto

umberto for carbon footprint

umberto user workshop

Umweltbundesamt

university

upcycling

urban carbon emissions

VDMA

vernon curve

vertical cooperation

Vertragsnaturschutz

virtual water

waste air treatment

waste cycle

waste disposal

waste hierarchy

waste management

waste prevention

wastewater

wastewater treatment

water abstraction rate

Water Consumption by Sector

water extraction

water filter

water footprint

Water Management

water stress

web 2.0

Wellbeing Index

wind gas

wind power

wine

with both eyes open

working conditions

world cup

world statistics day

world vegan day

YET

zero carbon

zero carbon city

zero emission mobility

zero growth

zero growth economy