Surrey University Stag

LIFE CYCLE THINKING AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY - 2023/4

Module code: ENGM058

Module Overview

When considering how to reduce the environmental impacts of a product, a service, an organisation, a household or even a nation, it is vital to take a life cycle approach. A life cycle approach considers the environmental impact over the full life cycle of the product– from its design, raw material extraction, manufacturing, distribution, consumption and then disposal or recycling at the end of the product’s life.  In this module we introduce participants to life cycle thinking, the concept of the circular economy, life cycle management and related environmental systems analysis approaches. We consider how such approaches can help inform sustainability trade-offs, thus leading to better-informed decisions.

Module provider

Centre for Environment & Sustainability

Module Leader

LIU Lirong (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: F750

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 10

Independent Learning Hours: 94

Lecture Hours: 20

Seminar Hours: 6

Captured Content: 20

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • Introduction to life cycle thinking, the circular economy, and life cycle management

  • Concepts, policy and organisational drivers, and application in practice;

  • Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment methodology, simplified life cycle studies; and case studies (from academia and industry);

  • Overview of Input-Output Analysis: principles and application;

  • Principles and practice of Design for Sustainability.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 20
Coursework INDIVIDUAL POST MODULE ASSIGNMENT 80

Alternative Assessment

In cases where the In-class Group Presentation is failed, the Alternative Assignment will be an individual report, 800 words maximum.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they understand the concepts of life cycle thinking and the circular economy and are able to discuss the benefits and challenges of its application in practice in industry and for policy making.

 Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of two parts:


  • An In-class Group Presentation in which students are asked to present how principles of life cycle thinking and the circular economy may be implemented by a business to improve sustainability.

  • An Individual Post Module Assignment in which students demonstrate their understanding of how the principles of life cycle thinking and the circular economy can be applied to improve sustainability outcomes. They are asked to apply their understanding to case study examples. Assignment length: 3,200 words maximum (excluding reference list). Deadline: ~ 4 weeks after the end of the module.



Formative assessment and feedback: Students receive formative feedback during in-class exercises and discussions. Students complete a range of in-class exercises, including the use of Life Cycle Assessment Tools, Social Life Cycle Assessment, producing a Carbon Footprint of a Hotel. The teaching team circulate amongst students to provide feedback as students complete these exercises.

Module aims

  • To introduce participants to life cycle thinking, the concept of the circular economy, life cycle management and related environmental systems analysis approaches.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the concept of life cycle thinking (LCT) and describe the benefits and challenges of its application in practice in industry and for policy making. KPT
002 Understand and be able to discuss the strength and weaknesses of the circular economy concept. KPT
003 Describe the goal, key methodologies, challenges and role of systems analysis approaches such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Input-Output Analysis. K
004 Develop a critical understanding of different types of ¿footprints¿ and their strengths and weaknesses KP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to take an active learning approach, in which the students are engaged in class exercises and discussions. The schedule includes guest expert speakers from industry with whom students are encouraged to engage and group exercises where students could implement the concept and tools.

The learning and teaching methods include:


  • Preparatory reading (~10 hours)

  • Lectures and seminars (~26 hours)

  • In-class exercises and group discussions (~10 hours)

  • Post course study and assignment (~104 hours)



 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM058

Other information

The Centre for Environment and Sustainability is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience, in line with the Surrey Curriculum Framework. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: The application of life-cycle thinking, input-output analysis and circular policies are critically important to environment and sustainability professionals, with employers actively seeking graduates with life cycle thinking expertise. The application of these concepts to a real company in the group assessment helps students to develop skills in strategizing life cycle thinking and circular economy.

Sustainability: The module articulates the latest concepts in sustainability being implemented by corporations around the world. It provides students with a holistic take of the pros and cons of lifecycle thinking and circular economy approaches, with examples of real-life application of these concepts.

Digital Capabilities: Students are required to create an in-class group presentation using software such as PowerPoint and Adobe.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Corporate Environmental Management MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Environmental Strategy MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Sustainable Development MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Nanotechnology and Renewable Energy MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.