Sustainability Education and News — Resources

Gain Knowledge Quickly as You Access Our Newsletters, Tutorials, Webinars, Videos, White Papers, Presentations and Case Studies, Life Cycle Assessment, and Sustainable Return on Investment (S-ROI) Resources.

This website as well as our sustainability blog, #ShiftTheEarth, is filled with relevant information so don’t miss subscribing to our monthly newsletter, TheShift  for the latest sustainability news and industry views. Be sure and check out our newest bi-annual focus on sustainable return on investment insights in the S-ROI VISION for a Sustainable World  newsletter.

Sustainability Newsletters

this is the masthead for the newsletter, s-roi vision for a sustainable world


New!  Bi-annual Newsletter

S-ROI Vision, published by EarthShift Global reports on the development and application of the Sustainable Return on Investment (S-ROI) cost-benefit analysis methodology. Our editorial mission is to provide useful information to sustainability practitioners, executives, and others with an interest in this powerful decision-making tool.

o   Subscribe to the S-ROI Vision for a Sustainable World Newsletter



This is the masthead image for TheShift sustainabiity newsletter published by EarthShift Global.

Monthly Newsletter

TheShift, includes tips to help you improve your sustainability assessment, analysis and reporting; regulation updates; important industry conferences and commentary on current events

o   Subscribe to our Sustainability News and Views Newsletter - TheShift


Software Tutorials


Free Brown Bag Sustainability Webinars and Past Recordings

Enjoy Your Lunch Break With Us, When Our Brown Bag Webinars are Back in the Fall!


brown bag webinar logo, have lunch and learn with usEarthShift Global is pleased to announce a series of sustainability 'Brown Bag' webinars. These are Free webinars covering a wide range of topics and delivered by leaders in their respective fields. For a full description of the webinar and speaker profile, please follow the above link.

Each webinar will be held from 1-2 PM Eastern time. Our webinar is a 40-minute presentation followed by a 20-minute Questions and Answers Session.

If you're unable to attend the webinar due to a last minute schedule conflict, we post each recorded session. To select a Past Recording, follow the above link to the list of Webinars and click, "View Recording".


Case Studies, White Papers, Reports and Presentations

White Papers, Presentations

New!  Life Cycle Assessment White Paper and Poster

Poster:  LCA Comparison of Flexible Packaging Printing Using Three Different Methods for Short-Run Jobs

Presented at June 2017 ISIE and ISSST Joint Conference
Nathan Ayer, Lise Laurin — EarthShift Global and Tom Etheridge, Mach Machikawa, Noa Falk Yogev — HP Inc.

Download Hewlett Packard (HP) White Paper:
Low Environmental Impact Printing with HP Indigo Digital Presses For Production of Flexible Packaging

(PDF download — 3.2 MB file, 12 pages)
Link to share with colleagues:


Navigating the Critical Review Process — White Paper (PDF)

The ISO critical review process for LCAs is intended to provide assurance to the study’s commissioner that the analysis was completed in compliance with the ISO guidelines for LCA. A poorly executed peer or critical review can be very costly and time consuming, so it is in your best interest to be proactive and ensure that the process runs smoothly. We provide best practices and helpful tips on how to be more strategic, avoid common pitfalls and utilize forward thinking to providing effective, ongoing communication with the review panel.


Sustainability Glossary of Terms for Executives, Strategic Planners, Practitioners

Sustainability is increasingly being integrated into high-level decision-making at corporations, public sector agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other groups. This brings many benefits, but can also create challenges – including vocabulary issues, like defining words and phrases related to sustainability.

It’s important for sustainability practitioners to understand the terms and concepts of traditional financially oriented analysis, and for executives to have a grasp of the metrics and frameworks that now allow environmental and social considerations to be incorporated into project evaluations.

We hope the following definitions of sustainability terms will prove useful to both groups, and serve as an aid to effective collaboration. This sustainability glossary was prepared by our colleague John Parker, chief product officer and co-founder of Impact Infrastructure, developers of Autocase, with input from the EarthShift Global team; we thank John for his excellent efforts, and invite our readers to send suggestions for other terms or words they’d like to see added.

View Sustainability Glossary


Sign Up for Our Quarterly

New S-ROI Newsletter

Register Today!

Sustainable (S-ROI) Resources

How and When to Start an Engagement



New Dates!   S-ROI Training OptionsChoose from a Free 1-hour, 3-hour, or Full-day Master Classes.


S-ROI Consulting

— 3D Printing Case Study Presented at the ISIE / ISSST Conference in Chicago

Cover for 3D case studyAssessing the Sustainability of 3D Printing of Plastics

3D printing has the potential to change manufacturing of many types of products resulting in changes in the environmental, social and economic landscape. Which of these changes will actually occur depends upon many factors, including the cost and energy trajectory of this new technology, the response from competitive technology, and the adoption by industry and others.

Follow links for the complete abstract and to download presentation:


— Two Papers Presented at the Eco-Balance Conference in Japan

EarthShift Global is a pioneer in S-ROI methodology – our founder and CEO, Lise Laurin, is a widely respected S-ROI expert, international speaker, and author of multiple papers and a forthcoming book on the subject.

The Environmental and Social Impacts of Biofuels Production: Total Cost Assessment of Biomass Utilization Trials in Japan(PDF)

Pilot biofuels projects in Japan have allowed a better understanding of the actual land use, processing requirements, and economic impacts of biofuels. Through the use of Total Cost Assessment (TCA), this study looks at the costs and benefits of Japanese investments in biofuels production in order to determine whether the projects are sustainable.

tags: biofuels, Total Cost Assessment, social impacts, Life Cycle Assessment, Sustainable ROI, Sustainability


Sustainable Return on Investment: A Scenario-based Multi-criteria Assessment Tool for Policy-Making (PDF)

Policy makers use various tools to make decisions, looking at impacts to businesses, communities, and the environment. As systems become more complex, the trade-offs between different social and environmental impacts make a simple decision increasingly difficult.

Sustainable Return on Investment (S-ROI) originally developed as an industry Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MDCA) tool, provides more transparency in how weights are defined and how they are applied. This methodology shows promise in its ability to assess the sustainability of policy from the perspective of the environment and groups affected by the decision.

tags: sustainability, Sustainable Return on Investment, Total Cost Assessment, multicriteria decision analysis, social impacts,


What is S-ROI?

Total Cost Assessment Manual

The S-ROI methodology grew out of the Total Cost Assessment (TCA) method developed by the AIChE. Follow this link to read the original Total Cost Assessment (TCA) manual. (

tags: total cost assessment, S-ROI, Sustainable Return on Investment Methodology


Externalities Costs

This is one of the most comprehensive studies of environmental externalities costs from CE Delft. (
Contact EarthShift Global for more externalities references.

tags: environment, effects, costs, prices, economy, analysis, measure, method


Danisco Assessed the Sustainability of Xylitol (XIVIATM)

Production to Guide Product Development Efforts — White Paper (PDF)

Environmental and social impacts can occur throughout a product's life cycle. Danisco fine-tuned their approach to include Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and environmental footprinting to guide product development efforts towards reducing their impact and to provide quantitative impact data to their customers, retailers and consumers. XIVIA is a sustainable, naturally occurring sweetener with all the sweetness of sugar but with 40% less calories.

Case Studies and Reports

Rolland's LCA was designed to calculate the environmental impacts of Rolland Enviro and Rolland Opaque fine papers and to compare them with the North American industry average for Virgin and 100% Recycled papers. This study was conducted while Rolland Enterprises was under the Cascades' Company. Rolland, under H.I.G. Capital, still produces fine papers with the same procedures and high environmental standards that were established and detailed during this Life Cycle Assessment.

Becton Dickinson ecoFinity Life Cycle Solution — Hospital Sustainability Poster (PDF), LCA Report, Hospital Waste Disposal (PDF)

BD ecoFinity® Life Cycle Solution Environmental Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for acute care facilities seeking to reduce their environmental footprint, the BD ecoFinity Life Cycle Solution is the environmentally preferable disposal solution for single-use medical sharps, such as hypodermic needles and syringes. By implementing BD ecoFinity, hospitals can continue to realize the clinical advantages of BD's best-in-class single-use medical devices, while reducing the environmental impact of medication delivery.

nPulpTM Paper Packaging — YFY Group in China uses Green Chemistry to Address Air Quality

A Comparative LCA of nPulp and Molded Paper Packaging Summary Report (PDF)

China's rapidly growing population and industry are leading to increased air pollution and dire health and economic impacts with global implications. A significant contributor to these issues is the standard local practice of burning straw residue from crops such as wheat and rice. In response to this alarming situation, YFY Group developed nPulp, a bio-based pulp product which utilizes straw waste to produce products such as paper, corrugated cardboard and molded pulp packaging. The new breakthrough enzymatic process not only reduces harmful air emissions, it creates a market for what was once a waste product, providing an additional source of income for rural farmers.

Algae Biodiesel LCA Report

Algae Biodiesel Life Cycle Assessment Using Current Commercial Data (PDF)

Article for The Journal of Environmental Management, Elsevier

Autotrophic microalgae represent a potential feedstock for transportation fuels that might produce lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide similar or lower net energy ratios (NERs) (energy in/energy out) when compared to petroleum diesel or other biodiesels. But life cycle assessment (LCA) studies based on laboratory-scale or theoretical data have shown mixed results. We attempt to bridge the gap between laboratory-scale and larger scale biodiesel production by using cultivation and harvesting data from a commercial algae producer and compare that with a hypothetical scaled up facility.

LCA of Packaging Options]

A Life Cycle Assessment of Packaging Options for Contrast Media Delivery:  Comparing
Polymer Bottle vs. Glass Bottle

Article for The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, (December 2014)

This paper compares environmental impacts of two packaging options for contrast media offered by GE Healthcare: +PLUSPAK™ polymer bottle and traditional glass bottle. The study includes all relevant life cycle stages from manufacturing to use and final disposal of the bottles and includes evaluation of a variety of end-of-life disposal scenarios. The study was performed in accordance with the international standards ISO 14040/14044, and a third party critical review was conducted.


LCA Resources and Journals

LCA Resources

Free Download — LCA Textbook
Life Cycle Assessment: Quantitative Approaches for Decisions that Matter

The free book has been written by a small and established team of LCA professionals with 20 years of combined experience teaching LCA, and 50 years of performing LCA studies and research. The authors are H. Scott Matthews, Chris T. Hendrickson, and Deanna H. Matthews, professors at Carnegie Mellon University. Its free availability has been done with students in the developing world in mind. While produced with academic audiences in mind, other interested parties can access the content to learn about LCA. The textbook is the centerpiece of a comprehensive collection of unique learning resources leveraging free data and methods, such as the US LCI database. We encourage educators and users to contribute their own resources to be shared on this website.

LCA Capability Roadmap with SETAC North America

The SETAC North America LCA Advisory Board is working on an LCA Capability Roadmap to guide research in the areas of LCA that need the most work. A section on using LCA for Decision Support has been completed and can be found here:

Final Roadmap for LCA Support to Decisionmakers, June 12, 2015 (PDF)

Two groups are forming, one to consider uncertainty and the other to address Life Cycle Inventory. Contact us, if you are interested in joining either group.

Municipal Waste/Materials Management Data

The US EPA commissions studies of our waste management every year. The resulting reports are useful for LCA purposes because they include the amount and percent of each type of material recycled, incinerated, and landfilled. The results are also given in different sectors including packaging and white goods.

Studies, Summary Tables, and Data Related to the Advancing Sustainable Materials Management Report

Port to Port Distances

Get accurate distances between ports for ocean shipping.  (


LCA Journals



Understanding Life Cycle Impact Assessment Process, 3 Part Series

Author: Harnoor Dhaliwal, Certified LCA Consultant and Senior Sustainability Analyst

Part I – Overview and Fate

Part II – Modeling Exposure: Intake and Bioavailability

Part III – Modeling Effects and Conclusion


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 P. Seager (2014) Anticipatory life-cycle assessment for responsible research and innovation, Journal of Responsible Innovation, 1:2, 200-207, DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2014.920121

Journal of Responsible Innovation (JRI)


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.

Keywords: anticipatory life cycle assessment, technology assessment, foresight, knowledge integration, research and innovation
Published online: June 2, 2014


Impact Assessment Methods


The primary objective of the ReCiPe method, is to transform the long list of Life Cycle Inventory results, into a limited number of indicator scores. These indicator scores express the relative severity on an environmental impact category. In ReCiPe we determine indicators at two levels:

  1. Eighteen midpoint indicators
  2. Three endpoint indicators

USEtox 2.0

The USEtox model has been developed by the USEtox Team, a team of international researchers from the Task Force on Toxic Impacts under the auspices of UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative.


Community Groups

For LCA practitioners and SimaPro users, EarthShift recommends joining the LinkedIn North American LCA group and the SimaPro group as well the LCA email discussion list.  These are great communities for sharing LCA knowledge and data.

LinkedIn Groups

LCA Capability Roadmap

UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative

LCA & Environmental Assessment

LCA in Industry –

Life Cycle Assessment –

North American Life Cycle Assessment –

Sima Pro Group

PRé Sustainability LCA Discussion Listserv –