design constraints are contained in a company's environmental policy, objectives, and programs. Communication between the designers and company specialists (such as environmental chemists and technologists) is a vital source of information for the design phase and cannot be replaced by an expert system.

Introducing a system such as EPS without a strong organization of environmental specialists within the company to back it up could be counterproductive. EPS could give a false sense of security in the absence of discussions and questions that arise when the system is used to test and environmentally assess different design alternatives.

The EPS system is not a troubleshooter, it merely provides decision-makers with a summary of complicated patterns of energy, materials, and pollutant emissions in a manageable, easily understood, and reviewable form. Even the best LCA study needs a competent end user to make optimal use of the sensitivity and error analyses and to interpret the outcome in a way that matches other decision making inputs (such as economic and technical factors). The complexity of nature raises questions about efforts to model its structure and function as well as the merits of using the results of such models. It is, therefore, more a question of ambition and will than indisputable data inputs and comprehensive coverage of all data to carry out LCA and other approaches for assessing environmental consequences of human activities. At the very least, even a weak LCA-based system can increase the interest in a systems approach to addressing future environmental problems and to involving a wider community of stakeholders.


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Baumann, H., C.A. Bostrom, T. Ekvall, E. Eriksson, T. Rydberg, S.O. Ryding , B. Steen, G. Svensson, T. Svensson, and A. M. Tillman. 1992a. Miljöbedömning av förpackningsutredningens slutsatser. FoU nr 71. Stiftelsen REFORSK, Malmö.

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