Authors: Manfredi Vale, Silvia Battaiotto, and Sonia Longo

In recent years, companies and enterprises have matured awareness towards environmental issues, implementing concrete techniques to measure and evaluate their pressures on the environmental sphere. So, it is very interesting develop a benchmark of performance – and also of the environmental impacts – for different economic sectors. However, define the environmental performance and sustainability of a sector means taking into account both direct impacts, resulting from processes on the spot, and indirect impacts, embedded into supply chains or into the cross-sectoral exchanges.

It is therefore necessary to implement a model based on the Economic Input Output – Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA), which does not focus only on one environmental pressure but tends to incorporate into the simulation all the possible environmental externalities produced by a particular economic sector.

A comprehensive and accurate analysis of the state of the art showed that this combined model is used, most of all, to evaluate impacts from energy consumption or by CO2 emissions. In this sense, it is innovative extending the scope of the EIO-LCA analysis to identify the relative contribution of the economic categories and different impact pressures (energy consumption, emissions, production/treatment of waste).

The main objective of this study is to present a possible application of the EIO-LCA model; use it to analyze the economic structure – as a whole and in detail of the various sectors – and to define a framework of potential impacts, caused by different pressures, that economies have on the environment.