Dr. Sabrina Neugebauer

Senior Researcher

 

Dr. Sabrina Neugebauer

Senior Researcher

 

Dr. Sabrina Neugebauer joined Kühne Logistics University in February 2021 as the Senior Researcher of the Center of Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains (CSLS). Her work focuses on sustainability assessment in theory and practice and especially on environmental and social sustainability as well as related aspects in the Circular Economy context. She is involved in the successful project for updating the Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products and Organizations 2020. She was chief engineer at the Institute of Sustainability in Civil Engineering of the RWTH Aachen University and a research associate at the Institute of Environmental Technology at the Berlin Institute of Technology. Earlier she studied Industrial Engineering at the Technical University of Clausthal. 

Sabrina is an author, guest-editor and reviewer of several scientific journals, e.g. Journal of Cleaner Production, the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Sustainability and Nature Food. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Social LC Alliance.  

Professional Experience

Since 2021Senior Researcher, Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains (CSLS), Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany
2017 - 2020    Chief Engineer at the Institute of Sustainability in Civil Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
2010 - 2016Research Associate, Institute of Environmental Technology, Berlin Institute of Technology, Berlin, Germany

Education

2016PhD in Engineering (Dr.-Ing.), Berlin Institute of Technology, Berlin, Germany. Thesis Title: "Enhancing Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment - Tiered Approach and New Characterization Models for Social Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing". Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Matthias Finkbeiner, Prof. Dr. Rainer Grießhammer
2009Diploma in Industrial Engineering (Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Ing.), Technical University of Clausthal and Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG
  • Road Testing of the Revised Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of a Product (accepted for oral presentation): 7th International Conference on Social Life Cycle Assessment 2020
  • Updated Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment: The Nuts and Bolts (accepted for oral presentation): 7th International Conference on Social Life Cycle Assessment 2020
  • Progress for Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment by Means of Digital Lifecycle Twind (accepted for oral presentation): Ecodesign Conference 2019
  • The Different Directions of Social Life Cycle Impact Assessment (accepted for oral presentation): 9th International Life Cycle Management Conference 2019
  • Update on the Revision of the Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products (accepted for oral presentation): 9th International Life Cycle Management Conference 2019
  • Tiere in der Nachhaltigkeitsbewertung (invited presentation): CHASA, RWTH Aachen, 2019
  • Social Significance of the Leather Supply Chain (invited presentation): ETH Discussion Forum, Zürich, 2018
  • Social Life Cycle Assessment of Niobium Mining in Brazil (accepted for oral presentation): 6th International Social Life Cycle Assessment Conference 2018
  • Towards a Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Cotton - State of the Art (accepted for oral presentation): 24th International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference 2018
  • Social Indicators of Hard Floor Coverings (accepted for oral presentation): 24th International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference 2018
  • Walk-the-Talk: Sustainable Events Management as Common Practice for Sustainability (accepted for oral presentation): 12th Italian LCA Network Conference 2018
  • Social Significance of the Leather Supply Chain (accepted for oral presentation): SETAC Europe 28th Annual Meeting 2018
  • Sustainable Steel (invited presentation): Worldsteel Association, Vienna, 2018

Selected Publications

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118516 

Abstract: Scientific conferences are a widely established and a highly important and an indispensable component for knowledge sharing, networking activities, scientific debate etc. What is usually ignored is the resource demand of such an event, putting an enormous burden on the environment. For almost two decades now, there has been an increasing demand for mitigation of environmental impacts of scientific conferences. However, in the field of sustainability science hardly any measures have been taken as only one out of ten sustainability conferences promoted action to reduce environmental impacts. A comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has not been carried out for all phases of a conference. This study therefore strives to conduct a comprehensive LCA of a scientific conference held on sustainability topics. The assessment includes three main parts: 1) preparation of the conference, 2) conference execution, and 3) further pre-/post-conference activities (participants’ travel associated with the conference). The functional unit is defined as: Holding one 3-day international academic conference on sustainability topics. The results display that travel activities of participants dominantly contribute to the overall environmental impact. Further relevant phases are catering, hotel overnight stays as well as environmental burdens associated with the conference venue. It was found that the conference under consideration leaves a carbon footprint of 455 tonnes of CO2 eq., equivalent to an average of 0.57 tonnes of CO2 eq. per participant. A scenario analysis displayed that changes towards train travelling, vegetarian meals and reduction of conference materials can significantly better the environmental profile of a conference. Further measures of environmental optimization could be identified, e.g. digital meetings. It is however unlikely that those will totally replace physical meetings. The social benefits of direct personal and globally-oriented exchange can probably not be outweighed by environmental savings. Future conference planning should thus relate the sustainability benefits with the detrimental impacts.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.02.062 

Abstract: Evaluating innovative process technologies has become highly important within the last decades. As standard tools different Life Cycle Assessment methods have been established, which are continuously improved. While those are designed for evaluating single processes they run into difficulties when it comes to assessing environmental impacts of process innovations at macroeconomic level. In this paper we develop a multi-step evaluation framework building on multi regional input–output data that allows estimating macroeconomic impacts of new process technologies, considering the network characteristics of the global economy. Our procedure is as follows: i) we measure differences in material usage of process alternatives, ii) we identify where the standard processes are located within economic networks and virtually replace those by innovative process technologies, iii) we account for changes within economic systems and evaluate impacts on emissions. Within this paper we exemplarily apply the methodology to two recently developed innovative technologies: longitudinal large diameter steel pipe welding and turning of high-temperature resistant materials. While we find the macroeconomic impacts of very specific process innovations to be small, its conclusions can significantly differ from traditional process based approaches. Furthermore, information gained from the methodology provides relevant additional insights for decision makers extending the picture gained from traditional process life cycle assessment.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.11.172 

Abstract: Income and wages are among the determinant factors for the living standards and well-being of workers and thus carry a certain degree of relevance for social life cycle assessment (SLCA). Although, fair wages have often been mentioned as a quantitative measure of societal well-being, a defined impact category and quantitative characterization model is missing. Against this background, this paper aims at defining Fair wage as a new midpoint impact category for SLCA and suggests a characterization model to calculate fair wage potentials (FWPs) along a product's life cycle. The characterization model considers the actual wage paid at each process step in comparison to a minimum living wage. It furthermore relates wage to the effective working time and includes an inequality factor to account for income inequalities. The characterization model was tested in a cradle-to-gate case study on tomatoes produced in Germany to ensure its applicability. Results indicate potentially negative social impacts for workers employed in packaging and transport in Turkey and workers in manufacturing and packaging in China. In contrast, low impacts resulted for the Indian workers. No negative impacts are expected for the German and Dutch workers. The midpoint category Fair wage and the associated characterization model facilitate the operationalization of social impact assessment and provide companies with a practical method to quantify and evaluate their products' life cycle.

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DOI: 10.1007/s11367-016-1237-z 

Abstract: Purpose End-of-life (EoL) modelling in life cycle assessment has already been broadly discussed within several studies. However, no consensus has been achieved on how to model recycling in LCA, even though several approaches have been developed. Within this paper, results arising from the application of two new EoL formulas, the product environmental footprint (PEF) and the multi-recycling-approach (MRA) ones, are compared and discussed. Both formulas consider multiple EoL scenarios such as recycling, incineration and landfill. Methods The PEF formula has been developed within the PEF programme whose intent is to define a harmonized methodology to evaluate the environmental performance of products. The formula is based on a 50:50 allocation approach, as burdens and benefits associated with recycling are accounted for a 50% rate. The MRA formula has been developed to change focus from products to materials. Recycling cycles and material losses over time are considered with reference to material pools. Allocation between systems is no longer needed, as the actual number of potential life cycles for a certain material is included in the calculation. Both the approaches have been tested within two case studies. Results and discussion Methodological differences could thereof be determined, as well as applicability concerns, due to the type of data required for each formula. As far as the environmental performance is concerned, impacts delivered by MRA are lower than those delivered by PEF for aluminium, while the opposite happens for plastic and rubber due to the higher share of energy recovery accounted in PEF formula. Stainless steel impacts are almost the same. Conclusions and recommendations The application of the two formulas provides some inputs for the EoL dilemma in LCA. The use of a wider perspective, better reflecting material properties all over the material life cycle, is of substantial importance to properly represent recycling situations. In MRA, such properties are treated and less data are required compared to the PEF formula. On the contrary, the PEF model better accommodates the modelling of products whose materials, at end of life, can undertake the route of recycling or recovery (or landfill), depending on country-specific EoL management practices. However, its application requires more data.

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