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Conference theme & sessions

Main theme of the conference


"Towards & Beyond 2020 "

For a sustainable future, we now need to decide what must be done over the next decade. Certain decisions may cause massive damage to the environment, or have negative socio-economic impacts on distant countries. Hence, we have to make decisions carefully by not only focusing on the immediate interests but also considering the indirect impacts on both distant places and the future. That is to say, it is important for us to make decisions based on life cycle thinking that takes various trade-offs into account.

The International Conference on EcoBalance began in 1994 to deal with life cycle assessment (LCA), and has since developed over the years as a forum to discuss the development and applications of methods for sustainability based on life cycle thinking. To date, the conference has attracted many participants from all over the world working in academia, industry and government.

The purpose of EcoBalance 2010 is to discuss problems and solutions in various fields such as energy, resources, food, water, transportation, consumer life etc. to clarify what we must do towards and beyond 2020 to ensure a sustainable future.



The conference language is English. For plenary lectures and certain oral presentations, simultaneous translation service in English and Japanese may be provided (under consideration).

Special sessions & general sessions

Themes of special sessions

The special sessions are proposed to discuss the following particular themes.

  1. Sustainable management of agricultural and biomass resources using the life cycle approach
  2. Sustainable mining from natural and urban reserves
  3. Advances of knowledge for assessing water resource use and consumption in LCA
  4. Decoupling environmental impact and resource use from economic growth in Asia
  5. Index and methods to assess socio-economic impacts and sustainability
  6. International standardization of environmental management accounting
  7. Applications of LCA to new-technology innovation
  8. Materials for raising environmental consciousness of consumers and promoting environmental practices of consumers

Session details

Title: 1.Sustainable management of agricultural and biomass resources using the life cycle approach
Organizer: Yuki KUDOH (AIST, Japan), Kiyotada HAYASHI (NARO, Japan), Kazuyo MATSUBAE (Tohoku Univ., Japan)
Keywords: Sustainable agriculture and food, Bioenergy / biofuel, Sustainable resource management, Scenario analysis
Aim: The production and use of agricultural and biomass resources in a sustainable manner is recognized as one of the most important future issues towards satisfying human food consumption and the reduction of fossil fuels for energy and materials. In this context, environmental impact by LULUCF (land use, land use change and forestry) and depletion of natural resources used for fertilizers should be taken into consideration, as well as feedstock production and use as food, energy and materials. This session aims at discussing a variety of evaluation methods/results or issues for sustainable agricultural and biomass resources from the life cycle perspective, e.g. sustainable agriculture and food, bioenergy production and use, biorefinery, agro-industrial complex, utilization of agriculture residues and wastes, carbon release and stock by LULUCF, ecosystem services and biodiversity, MFA/SFA on mineral nutrition balance, and resource saving technology development.
Title: 2.Sustainable mining from natural and urban reserves
Organizer: Kenichi NAKAJIMA (NIES, Japan), Shinsuke MURAKAMI (The Univ. of Tokyo, Japan)
Keywords: Material flow analysis/material stock accounting, Sustainable resource management (Metal), Urban mining
Aim: Even with strong efforts on dematerialization, demand for materials continues to increase. However, the supply of natural resources still remains fragile. We now turn our attention more to "urban mining," while recognizing the unchanging importance of natural ore mining. This session aims to explore our experience in mining and material science, and expand our knowledge on sustainable resource management. Topics from mineral economics, materials science, environmental studies and other related fields are also welcome. Research presentations including resource productivity analysis, material flow and stock accounting, and LCA are of particular interest.
Title: 3.Advances of knowledge for assessing water resource use and consumption in LCA
Organizer: Masaharu MOTOSHITA (AIST, Japan)
Keywords: Water resource, Inventory analysis, Impact assessment, Sustainable resource management
Aim: The prospect of global increasing water demand requires more advances in the assessment of water use and consumption from human activities for more efficient water resource management. Accordingly, now is the time to discuss how LCA can contribute to more sustainable water resource management. In this context, various kinds of recent research activities on the development of methodologies (indexes, inventory analysis, impact assessment) and case studies for the analysis and assessment of water use and consumption will be widely invited in this session.
Title: 4.Decoupling environmental impact and resource use from economic growth in Asia
Organizer: Keisuke NANSAI (NIES, Japan), Seiji HASHIMOTO (NIES, Japan)
Keywords: Scenario analysis, Input-Output analysis, Material flow analysis / stock accounts, Sustainable resource management, Sustainable manufacturing
Aim: Asian economies are steadily increasing their business activities with huge amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accompanied by resource consumption. In fact, they are faced with a range of serious environmental problems: air, water, and soil pollution; and waste. This session will serve as an opportunity to discuss a strategic method for decoupling increases in environmental load and resource consumption from economic growth in Asian economies. Asian decoupling scenario research and studies to understand the current environmental and resource problems inherent to Asian economies are welcome.
Title: 5.Index and methods to assess socio-economic impacts and sustainability
Organizer: Minako HARA (NTT Energy and Environment Systems Laboratories, Japan), Hiroki HONDO (Yokohama National Univ., Japan)
Keywords: Socio-economic integration methodology, Social impact assessment, Sustainability, Green Job
Aim: LCA has been standardized and practiced as a common method to measure the environmental impacts of goods and services. However, in order to attain sustainable production and consumption, many other aspects need to be taken into account - including not only environmental but also economic and social dimensions. Social impact assessment, socio-economic analysis and sustainability assessment using "life cycle approach" are expected to play an important role in the next decade. The session will provide a platform to discuss development and application of index and methods that assess technologies, products, and services from economic and social aspects.
Title: 6.International standardization of environmental management accounting
Organizer: Michiyasu NAKAJIMA (Kansai Univ., Japan)
Keywords: Material flow cost accounting, environmental accounting, sustainable manufacturing, Sustainable resource management, Supply chain management
Aim: Material flow cost accounting (MFCA), as environmental management accounting, will be International Standard ISO14051 in 2011. This standard is a guideline and the general framework of MFCA. It becomes a big opportunity; MFCA will promote environmental management accounting and contribute to the material efficiency improvement of the company globally. In addition, MFCA information has been utilized as management information inside the company until now. However, developing MFCA data as an evaluation standard of sustainability of a company or a product with material efficiency depends on such an international spread. MFCA is regarded globally as important as process-oriented solution of sustainability in practice. Now is an important stage to build concrete sustainable management and manufacturing by the management of MFCA information. This special session will discuss management indicators (ex. sustainable manufacturing indicator) of MFCA becoming important to arriving at further development of MFCA. In addition, concerning MFCA expansion, not only raw materials but also MFCA as pertains to carbon dioxide emission in the process and the flow of water will also be debated during the session.
Title: 7.Applications of LCA to new-technology innovation
Organizer: Rokuta INABA (NIES, Japan), Yasunari MATUSNO (The Univ. of Tokyo, Japan)
Keywords: Inventory analysis, Impact assessment, Eco-efficiency and other Indices, Energy & resource conservation, Zero emission technologies, Information & communication technologies, Sustainable transport
Aim: With the climate having gone through drastic changes since the mid 20th century, it is critical to cut down greenhouse gas emissions to less than half of the current level to stabilize the climate. A key to establish a "low-carbon society" is environment-related technological innovations. In this session, papers related to applications of LCA to new-technology innovation are invited. For example, electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, new energy, information & communication technologies, and recycling technologies are welcome.
Title: 8.Materials for raising environmental consciousness of consumers and promoting environmental practices of consumers
Organizer: Yoshikazu SHINOHARA (NIMS, Japan)
Keywords: Ecomaterials, Renewable energy, Recycling & waste management, Environmental sociology
Aim: The original concept of ecomaterials is materials for achieving a high eco-efficiency of products. Fabricators are keen to produce ecoproducts using ecomaterials to reduce their GHG emission. Some successful results have been achieved, but more GHG reduction requires positive environmental practices of consumers as well as a greater effort by fabricators. The concept of "materials for raising environmental consciousness of consumers and promoting environmental practices of consumers" is to be added to ecomaterials. Materials related to energy-saving, renewable energy, recycling and recovery, biomass, and so on will be included.

Themes of general sessions

General Sessions at the conference invite contributions that address the following themes (please refer to the related keywords):

A. Methodologies for Ecobalance

  • Inventory analysis
  • Impact assessment
  • Risk analysis
  • Uncertainty analysis
  • Material flow analysis / stock accounts
  • Substance flow analysis
  • Input-Output analysis
  • Life cycle costing
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Scenario analysis
  • Material flow cost accounting
  • Environmental accounting
  • Eco-efficiency and other Indices
  • Socio-economic integration methodology
  • Social impact assessment
  • Design for environment
  • Environmental education
  • Environmental psychology / sociology
  • Policy & regulation
  • International & national standards
  • Environmental information disclosure
  • Carbon footprint / offset
  • Database / software

B. Implementation of Eco-innovation

  • Sustainable agriculture & food
  • Bioenergy / biofuel
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy & resource conservation
  • Sustainable manufacturing
  • Sustainable resource management
  • Ecomaterials
  • Management of hazardous substances
  • Information & communication technologies
  • Supply chain management
  • Zero emission technologies
  • Recycling & waste management
  • Waste water treatment
  • Industrial symbiosis / Eco industrial development
  • Sustainable city planning & building
  • Sustainable transport
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Green job / servicizing
  • Emission trading
  • Urban mining
  • Biodiversity