Improving Organizational Life Cycle Assessment (O-LCA) through a Hospital Case Study
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In this thesis, I advance methods and data for organizational life cycle assessment (O-LCA) through a novel application that supports sustainability management in healthcare. In essence, the term sustainability management broadly encompasses decision-making for sustainability – considering environmental, social, and economic aspects – at all levels of coupled human and natural systems (e.g., at the level of individuals, organizations, municipalities, provinces, countries, and international bodies). In Chapter 1, I establish the conceptual foundations for the work presented in Chapters 2-4. In Chapter 2 (co-authored with Jair Santillán-Saldivar, Cassandra Thiel, Guido Sonnemann, and Steven B. Young), I conduct a comprehensive scoping review of the literature on “healthcare sustainability” – based on a representative sample from over 1,700 articles published between 1987 and 2017 – that highlights largely untapped opportunities to use industrial ecology approaches (such as LCA) to build an evidence base for this burgeoning domain of sustainability management. In Chapter 3 (co-authored with Steven B. Young), I constructively critique the existing methodology for O-LCA, with concrete proposals – particularly the use of basic statistical sampling and inference techniques – to strike a better balance of scientific rigour and practical feasibility in O-LCA. In Chapter 4 (co-authored with Steven B. Young), I test and demonstrate these proposals through an O-LCA of a Canadian hospital, in which I compiled new LCA data for approximately 200 goods and services used in healthcare. Finally, in Chapter 5, I reflect upon my contributions in this thesis, and on opportunities for future work.
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Alexander Cimprich (2022). Improving Organizational Life Cycle Assessment (O-LCA) through a Hospital Case Study. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18480