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UNECE starts regulatory work on automotive life cycle assessment

UNECE starts regulatory work on automotive life cycle assessment

Life cycle analysis

Participants in the motor industry’s complex supply chains, regulators as well as investors seeking to invest sustainably are increasingly interested in considering the carbon footprint of vehicles over their entire lifetime - from material extraction and production to manufacturing, use and disposal.  

Lifecycle assessments of products are becoming common practice in a variety of industries, but in the automotive industry, methodologies to determine cradle-to-grave carbon emissions have so far been diverse and thus non-comparable.  

This is about to change with the adoption by UNECE’s Working Party on Pollution and Energy of terms of reference for an Informal Working Group on Automotive Life Cycle Assessment.  

The objective of the new working group, led by the governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea, is to develop an internationally harmonized procedure to determine the carbon footprint of vehicles, including energy use, no matter which technology (combustion engine, electric, hybrid) they are running on, and to allow comparisons between different models using the same technology.  

The target date for the adoption of this procedure is 2025, in the form of a resolution under the framework of the UNECE World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29), which will apply to all types of vehicles. 

The Working Party on Pollution and Energy will host a special session on automotive life cycle assessment in April 2023 where it will invite all public, private and civil society stakeholders to actively participate in defining the key components of this forthcoming UN resolution. 

Note to editors 

The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, hosted by UNECE, is a unique global platform responsible for the regulatory frameworks regarding the safety and environmental performance of vehicles, their subsystems and parts.  

The World Forum manages three Global Agreements on vehicles: 1958 Agreement (UN Regulations); 1998 Agreement (UN Global Technical Regulations); and 1997 Agreement (UN Rules on Periodic Technical Inspections). Any country that is member of the United Nations may participate in the activities of the World Forum and accede to the agreements. 

The Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE) is one of the six subsidiary bodies of the World Forum. It concentrates its work on defining exhaust, energy efficiency and power measurement procedures for all modes of inland transport in order to limit environmental damage.