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Modern society demands abundant resources and the planet is struggling to keep up. LCA4Regions, a four-year Interreg Europe project, wants to recall the often-underestimated role of regions in sustainable development. Life cycle methodologies based on key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) overcome the traditional policy-making methods ‘one issue at a time’, revealing the world behind the surface. Regional policy-makers have a significant role in stimulating a more efficient use of resources trough the integration of LC (Life Cycle) thinking in regional policy instruments.

In January, after a five-month incubation period, the LCA4Regions partners brought along their regional analysis to Lithuania, where the first Transnational Learning Journey took place, hosted by the Kaunas University of Technologies. There, the “Interregional Learning” process has borne its first fruit The workshop “From theory to practice”, introduced by Fritz Balkau – project’s expert and author of the book “Life Cycle Approaches to Sustainable Regional Development” - highlighted key points of LC thinking and applications at regional level. The envision of both the upstream (supply chain) and downstream (end-of-life) processes for a holistic and effective improvement of regional policy instruments is crucial to reach the project’s objective: seven policy action plans to improve resource-efficiency in seven regions.

Two site visits to the national deposit refund system USAD, and the solar cells company SoliTek enriched partners and stakeholders’ knowledge of the Lithuanian standpoint, while a first peer to peer activity kicked off to the exchange of LC regional good practices. This was for the seven regions involved, a chance to better understand the local LC scenarios, besides being an opportunity for participants to share challenges and opportunities to improve their “cradle to cradle” vision.

The involvement of stakeholders from Spain, Portugal, and Lithuania - Acciona, GAN-NIK, EDIA, Castro Verde municipality, and the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation of Lithuania - enhanced the value of the exchange of experiences. LCA4Regions partners acknowledge the fundamental importance of the project's interweaving with relevant actors in the scene of regional sustainable development. They aim at engaging, inspiring, and communicating openly with them. The positive feedback of stakeholders who attended the first meeting demonstrated that LCA4Regions is on the right path. Creating synergy with companies, public authorities and decision-makers is key to expand the project's mission and get the power to successfully improve local policy instruments.

Yet, the road ahead is still a long way to go, and the project partners are all actively cooperating to get results. The next milestone? The second Transnational Learning Journey will take place in May in Navarra, Spain, where the theme of life cycle in resource-efficiency will be under focus!

Follow LCA4Regions’ path and play a role in this catalytic journey!

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