PROFILE: JONAS BENGTSSON
Meet Jonas Bengtsson: LCA consultant and the Vice Chair of the Australasian EPD Programme’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG).
Jonas is the CEO and co-founder of multinational sustainability consultancy Edge Environment. As well as serving the industry through his role on the Australasian EPD Programme’s TAG, he is also the current President of ALCAS (Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society) and a Technical Advisory Group member for Green Star.
Specialising in LCA and triple bottom line sustainability, Jonas has experience in a broad range of sectors, including construction, manufacturing, retail, restaurants, agriculture, telecommunication, energy and finance.
How did you first become involved with sustainability?
I studied environmental science and management at university back in Sweden and here in Australia. I worked a few years as a systems engineer in the automotive sector, but found it failed to address and positively contribute to the significant societal challenges of climate change, planetary boundaries in terms of ecological carrying capacity and resource use. Ten years ago I was fortunate to co-found the sustainability research and consultancy firm Edge Environment. Through the work with Edge, we have the chance to help drive change and try to push the boundaries in terms of integrating sustainability into organisations' decision-making and success.
Why have your chosen to be involved with Australasian EPD Programme?
The Australasian EPD is in a sense a start-up in our region, and it is breaking new grounds in terms of scientific integrity and transparency in environmental product information. The mission and vision of the Australasian EPD is very much aligned with Edge's mission and vision. We need the Australasian EPD as the independent third party organisation validating and publishing everyone's environmental product declarations, and to coordinate and harmonise with international developments. The Australasian EPD is relying on people with interest and expertise to contribute and progress the Programme's work. It is also a good forum to exchange ideas and collaborate with colleagues from other organisations interested in life cycle assessment and environmental labelling.
How are EPDs important to your work at Edge Environment?
Our clients typically work on a broad front with sustainability, including integration with their broader business strategy, procurement, R&D, operations and reporting/communication. EPDs are the perfect tool for them to organise and communicate their product sustainability information both internally and externally in a consistent and verified ISO format. For construction material suppliers EPDs are the most versatile and comprehensive access link to sustainability rating tools such as Green Star and Infrastructure Sustainability, as well as many agency and organisation specific design guidelines and procurement requirements.
You are also President of ALCAS. How do ALCAS and AEPD work together?
ALCAS, together with our NZ counterparts LCANZ established the Australasian EPD to fill a gap in the market around 2014/15, where the market was asking for EPDs, but there was no national system or programme operational. It is one of many initiatives ALCAS engages with, others include developing and maintaining the Australian Life Cycle Inventory database, offering internationally recognised Professional Accreditations, and collaborating in the development of guidelines, standards and methods. That said, ALCAS supports as best we can all broad-based development and use of LCA throughout the Australian economy, consistent with international development of LCA.