One Planet Thinking

Towards companies that perform within the earth’s regenerative capacity

Published: 29/05/2015

An increasing number of companies set targets to lower the impact of their activities on the environment, but do not inform whether they perform within the limits of the earth’s regenerative capacity. Inspired by the concept of planetary boundaries, introduced by Rockström et al. in 2009, the “One Planet Thinking” approach aims to link global, regional and local boundaries to business practice.

This paper introduces a methodological framework in which we link midpoint indicators of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to scientifically established boundaries at global, regional and local level. The methodological framework consists of three steps: 1) quantify environmental impacts at product level, 2) define scientific boundaries at global, regional and local level and 3) set targets at sector and product level. The application of the methodological framework is illustrated for climate change and particulate matter with a case study of an electricity company in the Netherlands. The methodological framework should be seen as a first step towards absolute boundary setting for companies and the paper concludes with questions for further research.

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Annemarie Kerkhof
Sustainable Industries and Services
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Jeroen Scheepmaker
Sustainable Industries and Services
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