108 Thus, the new Batteries Directive illustrates the challenges facing the automotive sector and industry in general with regard to LCAs and effective circular economy. In order to prepare companies for these new legislative requirements and corresponding customer needs, it is useful to always embed a LCA in the context of sustainability management and circular economy. In addition to in-house expertise, ARRK Engineering can draw on the know-how and product development history of its parent company Mitsui Chemicals Group, all of which is incorporated into the optimisation of the LCA results. Two developments in the 1970s gave rise to the first life cycle analyses as we know them today: on the one hand, the worldwide increasing volume of waste, which is pushing more and more disposal systems to their limits, and on the other hand, emerging energy bottlenecks and the associated realisation that a large proportion of the raw materials used are not available in unlimited quantities. Accordingly, LCA at that time focused on the effective use of resources and the reduction of emissions from products. Over the years, the concept has been continuously expanded and refined. Today, it encompasses a holistic analysis of the product system from cradle to grave – ideally even from cradle to cradle as an approach to a continuous circular economy. Engineering Partner When sustainability becomes a duty Life cycle assessment and recycling management make automotive and industrial companies fit for the future By Dr Jens Ramsbrock (Geophysicist and Sustainability Economist), Senior Expert Sustainability and LCA at ARRK Engineering In March 2020, the European Commission adopted the new Action Plan for Circular Economy. It aims to promote sustainable product design while reducing waste in resource-intensive sectors – including electronics and ICT, battery and vehicle manufacturing, and the plastics industry – as part of the European Green Deal. The revision of EU legislation on batteries is just one building block in this context. On the one hand, it is intended to make life cycle assessments (LCA) mandatory and, on the other, to regulate the use of resources. Image: © 3rdtimeluckystudio/shutterstock.com LCAs should always be embedded in the contexts of sustainability management and circular economy.