The global military and aerospace (mil/aero) community is becoming increasingly interested in and concerned with the environmental impact of its solutions. As a result, organizations are looking to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for insight into how their products affect the environment from cradle to grave.
LCA is a technique for analyzing the environmental impact of a product over its entire life cycle–from its inception to its eventual disposal, destruction, or recycling.
Not long ago, military organizations wordwide—the United States Department of Defense among them—were hotly criticized for a lack of environmental concern. In fact, part of the population is of the mind that imposing environmental regulations on the military restricts and interferes with their activities. An anonymous contributor to the topic on Debate.org writes: “Imposing environmental decisions will weaken the military’s movement and may even put us in danger.”
Times have changed, however, and militaries are increasingly concerned with and investing in green technologies, recycling, investigating clean air and clean/renewable energy sources, and more.
By employing LCA tools, companies can gain insight into how their products will impact the environment over their entire life. Armed with this information, companies will be well equipped to design future products such that they will make as little negative environmental impact as possible.
This mil/aero geek is excited that there are systems being put in place that are International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certified to analyze the environmental impact of products. In the future, with the help of tools such as LCA, engineers and executives can likely find the optimal balance between environmental responsibility and corporate profit.