From cradle to grave
The European Union (EU) defines “cradle to grave” as “a product’s life cycle that includes raw material extraction, processing, distribution, storage, use, and disposal or recycling stages. All relevant inputs and outputs are considered for all of the stages of the life cycle”.
A nice, short, crisp, clear definition that was completed by the “EC, 2013, Commission Recommendation of 9 April 2013 on the use of common methods to measure and communicate the life cycle environmental performance of products and organisations” (1).
One of the declared objectives of the recommendation is to “establish a common methodological approach to enable Member States and the private sector to assess, display and benchmark the environmental performance of products, services and companies based on a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts over the life cycle (environmental footprint)”.
The environmental footprint is measured as the result of “impact categories” that are generally related to resources use, emissions of environmentally damaging substances (e.g. greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals) which may as well affect human health. There are ...