Not always a lca study has to include all the stages

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Not always a LCA study has to include all the stages from cradle to grave. At times, the depth of the study can be shortened and con fi ned from cradle to gate or gate to gate stages. Likewise, there are many such variants of LCA such as well to wheel. A very detailed explanation of LCA and how a LCA study needs to be conducted and what are the challenges and limitations pertaining to LCA studies in textiles are already explained in depth by the author in his other books (Life Cycle Analysis 2015 ; Muthu 2014 ; Muthu 2015a ). Instead of repeating the same here, very important points are only mentioned in this section. Readers are strongly encouraged to read those books to get detailed information on LCA studies on textiles and clothing sector. 10 S.S. Muthu
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Life cycle assessment is a multi-step process to calculate the environmental impacts (potential) created by a product in its lifetime. ISO standards have a ded- icated series for LCA methodology, and the important widely used and accepted standards for LCA are ISO 14040 and 14044. There are many other variants of LCA such as product carbon footprint assessment (assessed by ISO/TS 14067), which is again based on LCA technique and relying on ISO 14040/44. According to ISO series of LCA standards, a LCA study necessarily has four steps (Fig. 2 ). Fig. 1 Life cycle stages of a typical product Fig. 2 Four-step process of LCA Evaluation of Sustainability in Textile Industry 11
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This concept of LCA can be used to measure different types of sustainability, and there are many tools developed in line with life cycle thinking to measure different dimensions (economic, social and environmental) sustainability. Life cycle thinking (LCT) is the concept of including the whole product life cycle system from the cradle to the grave under the consideration (raw material extraction stage to the end of life stages) with the objective of preventing individual life cycle stages are considered for assessment which will subsequently shift the environmental burdens to another life cycle stage (Finkbeiner et al. 2010 ). 3 Life Cycle Approach Sustainability Assessment As discussed in the previous section, to measure the three elements or faces of sustainability namely environmental, economic and social, life cycle approach is widely used. There are different types of tools developed to measure these three sustainability elements, and based on the element of sustainability to be assessed, an appropriate tool has to be chosen. To assess the environmental impacts of a product, LCA is widely used. LCA typically refers to environmental LCA. As discussed above, LCA follows cradle to grave concept with cross-media environmental assessment approach, i.e. all relevant environmental impacts such as both on the input side (consumption of resources) and on the output side (emissions to air, water and soil, including waste) (Finkbeiner et al. 2010 ). If the life cycle stages of a product are assessed with an environmental lens, then it is referred to as environmental LCA. LCA is de fi ned by ISO 14040 as
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  • Fall '19
  • environmental sustainability

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