Anticipatory life-cycle assessment for responsible research and innovation

Ben A. Wender, Rider W. Foley, Troy A. Hottle, Jathan Sadowski, Valentina Prado-Lopez, Daniel A. Eisenberg, Lise Laurin, Thomas Seager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The goal of guiding innovation toward beneficial social and environmental outcomes–referred to in the growing literature as responsible research and innovation (RRI)–is intuitively worthwhile but lacks practicable tools for implementation. One potentially useful tool is life-cycle assessment (LCA), which is a comprehensive framework used to evaluate the environmental impacts of products, processes, and technologies. However, LCA ineffectively promotes RRI for at least two reasons: (1) Codified approaches to LCA are largely retrospective, relying heavily on data collected from mature industries with existing supply chains and (2) LCA underemphasizes the importance of stakeholder engagement to inform critical modeling decisions which diminishes the social credibility and relevance of results. LCA researchers have made piecemeal advances that address these shortcomings, yet there is no consensus regarding how to advance LCA to support RRI of emerging technologies. This paper advocates for development of anticipatory LCA as non-predictive and inclusive of uncertainty, which can be used to explore both reasonable and extreme-case scenarios of future environmental burdens associated with an emerging technology. By identifying the most relevant uncertainties and engaging research and development decision-makers, such anticipatory methods can generate alternative research agenda and provide a practicable tool to promote environmental RRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Responsible Innovation
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Life cycle
Innovation
Life cycle assessment
Supply chains
Environmental impact
Industry

Keywords

  • anticipation
  • foresight
  • knowledge integration
  • technology assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management

Cite this

Wender, B. A., Foley, R. W., Hottle, T. A., Sadowski, J., Prado-Lopez, V., Eisenberg, D. A., ... Seager, T. (2014). Anticipatory life-cycle assessment for responsible research and innovation. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 1(2), 200-207. https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2014.920121

Anticipatory life-cycle assessment for responsible research and innovation. / Wender, Ben A.; Foley, Rider W.; Hottle, Troy A.; Sadowski, Jathan; Prado-Lopez, Valentina; Eisenberg, Daniel A.; Laurin, Lise; Seager, Thomas.

In: Journal of Responsible Innovation, Vol. 1, No. 2, 04.05.2014, p. 200-207.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wender, BA, Foley, RW, Hottle, TA, Sadowski, J, Prado-Lopez, V, Eisenberg, DA, Laurin, L & Seager, T 2014, 'Anticipatory life-cycle assessment for responsible research and innovation', Journal of Responsible Innovation, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 200-207. https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2014.920121
Wender BA, Foley RW, Hottle TA, Sadowski J, Prado-Lopez V, Eisenberg DA et al. Anticipatory life-cycle assessment for responsible research and innovation. Journal of Responsible Innovation. 2014 May 4;1(2):200-207. https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2014.920121
Wender, Ben A. ; Foley, Rider W. ; Hottle, Troy A. ; Sadowski, Jathan ; Prado-Lopez, Valentina ; Eisenberg, Daniel A. ; Laurin, Lise ; Seager, Thomas. / Anticipatory life-cycle assessment for responsible research and innovation. In: Journal of Responsible Innovation. 2014 ; Vol. 1, No. 2. pp. 200-207.
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