Discovering Life Cycle Assessment Trees from Impact Factor Databases

AAAI Conferences

In recent years, environmental sustainability has received widespread attention due to continued depletion of natural resources and degradation of the environment. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology for quantifying multiple environmental impacts of a product, across its entire life cycle — from creation to use to discard. The key object of interest in LCA is the inventory tree, with the desired product as the root node and the materials and processes used across its life cycle as the children. The total impact of the parent in any environmental category is a linear combination of the impacts of the children in that category. LCA has generally been used in "forward: mode: given an inventory tree and impact factors of its children, the task is to compute the impact factors of the root, i.e., the product being modeled. We propose a data mining approach to solve the inverse problem, where the task is to infer inventory trees from a database of environmental factors. This is an important problem with applications in not just understanding what parts and processes constitute a product but also in designing and developing more sustainable alternatives. Our solution methodology is one of feature selection but set in the context of a non-negative least squares problem. It organizes numerous non-negative least squares fits over the impact factor database into a set of pairwise membership relations which are then summarized into candidate trees in turn yielding a consensus tree. We demonstrate the applicability of our approach over real LCA datasets obtained from a large computer manufacturer.


David Davis questioned over Brexit impact assessments

BBC News

The government has not carried out any impact assessments of leaving the EU on the UK economy, Brexit Secretary David Davis has told MPs.


Government faces court action over 'illegal' planning policy

Guardian Energy

The government is facing a legal challenge over its new planning policy, which campaigners say was illegally adopted because the government failed to assess its environmental impact. The revised National Planning Policy Framework, published in July, informs local policies across England, from planning permission to town and country planning and land use. It has significant weight in development decisions, from the amount and location of built development to the way environmental impacts are assessed, and also deals with policies concerning air pollution, energy generation, water management and biodiversity. A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is required by EU law for public plans relating to land use and planning, among other things. It is required wherever policies are likely to have a significant impact on the environment.


Integration of Sustainability Issues during Early Design Stages in a Global Supply Chain Context

AAAI Conferences

A method is introduced to incorporate sustainability considerations in the early design stages, while simultaneously accounting for supply chain factors, such as cost and lead time. Overall, this work is our first step in understanding the trade-offs between sustainability metrics and more traditional supply chain performance metrics (i.e., cost and lead time). Based on our understanding of these trade-offs, we intend to help build computational artificial intelligence tools that can exploit these trade-offs for improved customization in produc


New 'social impact scoring system' xocial spurs a movement of competitive kindness

ZDNet

Are you using your superpowers for the right reasons? There is a new online community that calculates and curates what it calls "competitive kindness" to help mere mortals out-nice each other, and make the world a better place. Optimistic online community xocial (pronounced soh-shuhl) gives cause-conscious and otherwise kind-hearted individuals and companies the ability to do good, see good, feel good, and measure good. The platform connects people, businesses, and organizations to causes they care about. It also inspires them to take action, and measures the impact of their efforts.