Despite nearly two decades of research into environmental life cycle assessments and their harmonisation there is still much to be done. Different scopes, data sources and different assessment methods result in analyses, which are difficult to compare. However, high quality data is needed to inform policy making and the effectiveness of data gathering is clouded by the aforementioned challenges. A consistent method of data gathering for assessing the resource use of products and services is necessary.
MyEcoCost aims to develop a resource accounting module, which would be linked to existing accounting systems and which would open the door to uniform ecological data gathering. A highly automated, scientifically based, comprehensive, non centralised, asynchronous, recursive data gathering method is needed. The project aims to develop a foundational methodology that defines a global collaborative network of resource accounting nodes and provides a means of accounting for and expressing usage of natural resources for products, services and technologies. The kernel of a software solution that enables complex supply chains will be formed.
The project will research, develop and test concepts, methods and technical solutions within a generic business process that includes product development, production, sales, administration and waste management / re-cycling / re-use. The work will bring each of these organisational processes into an integrated measurement of ecoCost. The recursive method of data gathering resolves the "complex supply chain" issue completely.
All economic actors including SMEs and consumers should have access to environmentally relevant information using a developed Internet-based service-oriented architechture. Therefore researching and developing all key ICT and software elements to trial and demonstrate the resource accounting framework and infrastructure is one of the key tasks in this project. MyEcoCost is a novel, consistent bottom up approach to measure resource efficiency, the results of which are applicable in corporate, industry and society wide contexts.
Seven work packages (WP) have been established for the research, developing and testing concepts, methods and technical solutions of the myEcoCost project: Requirements and System Architecture Specification (WP 1), Resource Accounting Methodology (WP 2), myEcoCost System Development (WP 3), Communications and Network Infrastructure Development (WP 4), Concept and System Validation (WP 5), Dissemination and Exploitation (WP 6), Project Management and Coordination (WP 7).
The Wuppertal Institute will lead the project work in WP 2 in order to develop guidelines specifying the accounting methodology: developing benchmark figure for resource use and guidelines for EcoCost mathematics - rules and calculations. It will also coordinate the work on the Advisory Board and public relation level, thereby significantly contributing to the dissemination of project results in the scientific community and validation through stakeholder consultation work.