Increasingly, environmental policies and laws in the European Union ( eu ) refer to ‘life cycle thinking’ as an important guidance for policy. The concept of life cycle thinking however has no formal definition in eu law, making its application and relevance open to interpretation. This contribution explores the concept of life cycle thinking by looking at various policy documents, and by examining how life cycle thinking has influenced lawmaking in four legal processes at the eu and member state levels. We find that life cycle thinking contributes positively to the development of environmental law, but that it may be applied in ways that limit its potential, or may even lead to undesired outcomes from a sustainability perspective.
Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law – Brill
Published: May 28, 2015
Keywords: life cycle thinking; life cycle; life cycle assessment; lca ; Ecodesign Directive; ecodesign; waste framework hierarchy; public procurement; ied Directive; permitting
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