Life Cycle Thinking

Life cycle thinking is a technique to help you achieve supply chain sustainability. By thinking about every stage in the life of a product or service, this approach enables you to better understand your supply chain. Life cycle thinking encourages you and your project partners to see the ‘big picture’, collect baseline data and focus on areas in the supply chain offering greatest return. It involves acting beyond your organisation’s boundaries, and understanding all activities associated with your product or service.

You can use life cycle thinking in your supply chain sustainability project to:

  • Discover business value
  • Identify problem areas or ‘hotspots’ for further investigation
  • Develop a map of your supply chain
  • Collate your organisational and supplier information
  • Understand the financial, environmental and social costs of your product or service over its life cycle       
  • Strengthen relationships and collaboration with your project partners.

You can start with one part of your business or one product or service and become more ambitious over time, no matter how large or small your organisation.

Life cycle thinking allows you to identify business opportunities for your product or service in many parts of the supply chain that you might not otherwise see: from sourcing raw materials to manufacture and distribution, and from use or consumption to reuse, recycling, energy recovery and disposal.

Relatively new
technique that
assesses the social
and socio-economic
benefits and
impacts of a
product or service
throughout its
life cycle   - See more at:
Life cycle map
Life cycle map