Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies - NMP - ORIENTING



ORIENTING, which stands for “Operational Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment Methodology Supporting Decisions Towards a Circular Economy” is a research project to develop an operational methodology for product Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment. The main purpose of Orienting to integrate a life cycle approach that includes the analysis of environmental, social and economic impacts. It has 17 partners, including Universities, Research Institutes, Industries and SMEs from several European countries. The project will last for three years (36 months), between Nov/2020 until Oct/2023. The project coordinator is TECNALIA.

Project description

Sustainable development and circular economy require balancing between environmental, economic and social benefits and de-coupling the economic growth from resource use. The European New Green Deal highlights the need for reliable, comparable and verifiable sustainability information. Existing sustainability assessment approaches suffer from lack of comprehensiveness, consistency and practical tools for implementation. This results in fragmented and hardly comparable information on product sustainability performance. The ORIENTING project takes up this challenge and develops a robust and operational methodology for the life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) of products and services. The novelty value of the project relates to an approach that considers environmental, social and economic impacts in an integrated way. The ambition is to develop a methodology that can assess goods produced under linear as well as circular business models, allowing practitioners to understand and manage possible trade-offs. ORIENTING contributes to the development of a future Product Sustainability Footprint at European level, evolving existing PEF and designing new indicators for the evaluation of material criticality and product circularity. New tools will be developed to support and simplify the methodology application in business and policy development. Tools include guidance and training materials, data and software specifications and a hands-on LCSA IT tool. The LCSA methodology and its enabling tools are demonstrated in five industrial case studies. The consortium works in close cooperation with various stakeholders (industry associations and clusters, SMEs, consumer organisations, as well as governmental and standardisation bodies). The project outcomes will enable informed business decisions and contribute to the development of a levelled playing field – a single market – for products based on robust (i.e. transparent and verifiable) sustainability information.


These are the objectives of ORIENTING:

The main objective of the ORIENTING project is to develop a robust and fully operational methodology for sustainability assessment of products. The ORIENTING methodology is based on a holistic life-cycle approach that considers environmental, social and economic impact domains in a consistent and inte-grated way. The methodology is applicable for evaluating both linear and circular product systems, supporting a societal shift towards a more sustainable, circular economy.

The main objective described above can be broken down into more specific objectives that include:

  1. To select and combine fit-for-purpose approaches, models and indicators into a comprehensive LCSA methodology;
  2. To develop novel models and indicators for addressing current sustainability and circular economy challenges and policy priorities;
  3. To develop a robust methodological approach for the integration and interpretation of multi-di-mensional life cycle information;
  4. To develop new tools that enable the application of the LCSA methodology in practice;
  5. To demonstrate the ORIENTING LCSA methodology for product design and investment decision-making;
  6. To favour the uptake of the ORIENTING LCSA methodology among key stakeholders, working towards a future Product Sustainability Footprint (PSF) in the EU
  7. To create a business case around the ORIENTING LCSA methodology

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University is involved in several tasks and Work Packages, mainly working on the development of new methods and/or operationalization of already available methods into a LCSA framework. Ghent University leads Work Package 1 (Concept and specifications), on top of leadership in two tasks in Work packages 1, i.e., Task 1.1 (Criteria selection) and Task 1.6 (Sustainability integration framework approach). Furthermore, it also leads Task 2.5 (Materials and Circular Economy in LCSA), from WP2 (LCSA Methodology).




Prof. Dr. ir Jo Dewulf
Department of Green Chemistry and Technology – Research Group STEN
Phone number: +32 9 264 59 49