Dr Pere Fullana


Dr Pere Fullana i Palmer holds a PhD Cum Laude in Industrial Engineering (URL) and won a Caja Madrid Award for his thesis. He also has Master degrees in Industrial Engineering (UAB) and Chemical Engineering (IQS-URL) and won the Award for Best Final Project in Chemical Engineering 1988. He continued his academic education by taking postgraduate courses in informatics and business management.

His research has gained him the Senior Associate Professor ("Agregat") research accreditation by AQU in 2013 and Full Professor (“Recerca Avançada / Cateràtic) also by AQU in 2017.

In 2010, his teaching and research activities led him to gain, through an agreement between the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change, established at ESCI-UPF. 

Professional and research activity

Dr Pere Fullana is currently a full professor at ESCI-UPF, where he also serves as director of the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF.

Prof. Fullana has been teaching sustainability concepts and applications at different degree levels. In 1997, he started to teach the first promotion of the Bachelor’s Degre in International Trade at ESCI-UPF (later in International Business and Marketing), until 2022. Since 1994, he has lectured in about 20 Master and Postgraduate Degrees, introducing the new concepts of life cycle assessment, ecodesign and environmental communication. In addition, he has helped design and/or manage a number of postgraduate degrees, being the ones at UPF about Corporate Environmental Management (1999-), Product Ecodesign (1998-), and Sustainability Transition and Climate Emergency Management (2022). He led the development (and he is currently member of the Academic Council) of the recent Master of Science in Sustainability Management, which offers a global vision of sustainability and prepares to address the three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental. Nowadays, his teaching activities are mainly focused on supervising PhD students. He has helped about 25 researchers to accomplish their PhD thesis, participating in National and International research projects.

For this engagement, in 2023 he was awarded with the Sustainability Education Lifetime Achievement Award by Join EDuC.

Prof. Fullana international research activities started in 1995 with the Computer Aided Environmental Management and Information System EU project of the 4th Framework Programme. From then on, he has participated in more than 120 competitive projects, 42 as PI, 35 Internacional, and in more than 130 research contracts. 

His research results and those of this research group have been valued by several awards.

  • Catalan Government Environmental Award in 2008 for the projects Eco-Toy and Recycle-Toy. 

  • Finalist to the Europa Innova Award by the European Commission for the best innovative tool in the FP6 DEPUIS project on Ecodesign (Design of Environmental-friendly Products Using Information Standards). 

  • Most Relevant Contribution Award by the International Society for Industrial Ecology at the 2009 Life Cycle Management Congress in Cape Town. 

  • Nominated to the Sustainable Energy Europe & managEnergy Awards 2013 by the European Commission for the Construction21 project (An European Green Building Exchange). 

  • Mention in the Energy Excellence Awards 2014 by the Catalan Government for the Construction21 project (An European Green Building Exchange).

  • Best Poster Award (Nutritional and Environmental Food Data Management under a Life Cycle Approach: Toward a more Sustainable Food Production and Consumption) at 12th International Food Data Conference in Buenos Aires. 

  • Best presentation award (“Diet matters: the case of Spain") and Best poster award ("A fair comparison of GHG emissions and nutritional quality of 4 ready-to-eat meals") by Springer at LCAFood 2018, Thailand. 

  • Alfonso Maíllo Award to the best innovative study on waste management ("LIFE Zero Cabin Waste project: Aviation catering waste management. Environmental impacts through LCA perspective) at RECUWaste 2018. 

  • Finalist to the Smart Logistics & Packaging Awards at PickPack 2020, in the "Excellence in sustainability and industrial ecodevelopment" category, for the project "Packaging recyclability label". 

  • ODS12 (Responsible production and consumption) award winner at the go!ODS 2020 Awards for the Project LIFE Zero Cabin Waste by UN Global Compact (Spanish Chapter). 

His international focus led him to chair the Europe LCA Steering Committee at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and he was the first LCA member on the SETAC Europe Council. For many years, he played a key role as the Spanish delegate on ISO and CEN environmental standardisation committees. He was actively involved with the UNEP-SETAC Life Cycle Initiative from its early days. Dr Fullana also helped develop GHG Protocols for Scope 3 and Product emissions and is currently a member of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Climate Change Expert Group.

He is well-known as an international expert in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as he was one of the first scientists working in its development back in the nineties. He is very active in LCA Critical Review, having led more than 10 international review panels.

His research group officially participates in the Conferences of Parties for Climate Change and he was chosen to represent the academic world at Chile/Madrid COP25 closing plenary. He has been interviewed by different media, including the New York Times. He has given presentations in the Catalan, Spanish and European Parliaments.

Selected publications

The aviation industry generates a significant amount of comingle waste. Nowadays, companies are making efforts to enhance waste management and reduce waste generation. In order to improve present practices and implement a proper waste management system, the quantities, materials, and typology of waste generated need to be studied. A total of 145 airplanes were analysed. We differentiated 5 strips of duration and identified 4 different generation sources within the cabin associated to the business and tourist passenger classes. We classified and characterized the waste into 20 different materials. Results provide a detailed, representative and adapted study of the catering waste generated in the aviation industry. The characterization, which allows distinguishing between manipulated and unmanipulated materials, aims at providing useful information to reduce the generation of waste. The analysis performed in the present study shows that the flying distance increases the waste generation, as more food is served. It also shows that organic matter, paper/cardboard and packaging are the dominant materials in the waste generated in flights. The results of the characterizations obtained allow making some recommendations. The use of bi-compartmentalized waste trolleys to separate on-board recyclable materials from the rest is desirable to obtain a clean recoverable waste stream. Supressing unpopular food from menus, identified analysing the leftovers, could also reduce the amount of waste generated. (This characterization study is part of the European project LIFE?+?Zero Cabin Waste.). Changes in the CE 1069/2009 regulation would allow more waste to be recycled instead of landfilled. Ultimately, the information obtained from this study will be used to design a more sustainable waste management system.


The main purpose of this article is to assess the nutritional and economic efficiency of food loss and waste (FLW) along the supply of 13 food categories included in the Spanish food basket by means of the definition of a new method which combines two indexes.


The nutrient-rich foods index and the economic food loss and waste (EFLW) index were combined by means of linear programming to obtain the nutritional cost footprint (NCF) indicator under a life cycle perspective. The functional unit used was the daily supply of food for a Spanish citizen in year 2015.

Results and discussion

Results showed that vegetables and cereals were the food categories most affected by the inefficiencies in the food supply chain under a nutritional perspective, being agricultural production and household consumption the main stages in which the nutritional content of food is lost or wasted. Moreover, according to the NCF index, vegetables represented 27% of total nutritional-economic wastage throughout the entire Spanish agri-food chain. They are followed by fruits, which add up to 19%. Hence, specific food waste management strategies should be established for these specific products and supply stages. Finally, the sensitivity analysis performed highlighted that results were mostly independent from the importance attributed to either nutritional or economic variables.


The methodology described in this study proposes an indicator quantifying the nutritional-economic cost of different food categories in the Spanish food basket. This NCF indicator makes it possible to define reduction strategies to promote the use of food waste fractions for waste-to-energy valorization approaches or the extraction of different types of pharmacological, chemical, or cosmetic compounds.

One of the main drivers for companies to perform environmental improvements is economic benefit, either by obtaining a more valuable product or gaining new customers. Circular economy combines environmental improvements with these drivers to achieve higher and quicker benefits. This paper is a case study on packaging eco-design aligned with circular economy strategy along the production chain. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to identify the product life cycle stages where the application of eco-design strategies would be more efficient (in this case, raw materials production from virgin petrochemicals). To improve the environmental profile of this packaging, virgin petrochemicals were partially replaced by mineral fillers (calcium carbonate based) or/and post-consumer recycled plastics. Different technically compliant cosmetic tubes were produced by collaboration between a company producing the plastic granulates with mineral fillers and a company producing the cosmetic tubes and cradle-to-gate LCA were performed. The replacement of virgin petrochemicals by mineral fillers helped to reduce the environmental impacts by an average of 12% and the use of post-consumer recycled plastic further decreased emissions up to 29% for 6 out of the 9 evaluated impact categories. The option with better environmental performance was also the one with lower economic costs.

According to the involved companies, LCA combined with ecodesign helped to achieve efficient environmental and economic savings. The findings are important for the plastic packaging sector because they tackle with prime concerns, like plastic debris, climate change and resource depletion. They are of main interest for industrial activities where brand positioning is a priority (i.e. cosmetics).

Appropriate selection of construction materials plays a major role in a building's sustainable profile. The study sets out a comparative life cycle assessment of indoor flooring systems of different nature. The flooring systems consisted of coverings and, where required, bonding material and/or impact soundproofing material. The following coverings were assessed: inorganic (natural stone and ceramic tiles), polymer (carpeting and PVC), and wood-based (laminate and parquet) coverings. The life cycle assessment scope was defined cradle to cradle, i.e. product stage, transport to the construction site, installation of all construction elements, use, and valorisation by recycling, as end-of-life transition scenario towards a circular economy. In the use stage, three scenarios were defined as a function of pedestrian traffic intensity, which determined maintenance, repair, and replacement operations and frequencies. The environmental impacts of the coverings product stage were taken from previously assessed and selected Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), as these are standardised public documents devised to provide environmental life cycle information. The method adopted in the study suggests that, though the use of EPDs as information source is interesting, erroneous conclusions may be drawn if the EPDs are not comparable and/or if the comparison is not made in the building context. The results indicate that the flooring systems with inorganic coverings performed best in the global warming, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical ozone creation, and abiotic depletion for fossil resources impact categories, whereas laminates performed best in the abiotic depletion for non-fossil resources and ozone layer depletion impact categories. The carpet flooring system performed worst in every impact category except photochemical ozone creation potential.

Food packaging is an important industrial sector that has great influence on food loss and waste. The search of optimal conditions to minimize the negative impacts of food packaging on the environment must promote the selection of the best available packages. This work has evaluated the environmental impact of the distribution of fruit and vegetables in the Spanish peninsular context using reusable plastic crates and single-use cardboard boxes. Discussion and decision at each phase and step of the methodology were provided, being an example to follow for similar studies in the future. For the analysis, five different impact categories were considered: global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, ozone depletion potential and photochemical oxidant creation potential. In addition, energy and water consumption were taken into account. According to the results of the analysis, the use of reusable plastic crates should be selected, since the values of all impact categories and energy consumption indicators were higher in the case of single-use cardboard boxes. The sensitivity analysis revealed a robust preference for plastic crates in comparison with cardboard boxes even in alternative scenarios, and only the hypothetic reduction of the quality of the cardboard resulted in significant lower impacts for cardboard boxes in comparison to plastic crates in photochemical oxidant creation potential, acidification potential, and energy consumption. This work demonstrates that plastic packaging should not be totally excluded or banned, since it can be the most environmentally friendly option in certain applications.

The big challenge of the next decades is meeting the global nutritional demand, while reducing the pressure on food resources and the GHG emissions. In this regard, the overall goal consists of redesigning the food systems and promoting sustainable dietary patterns is a crucial aspect. This article focuses on reviewing the state-of-the-art of the combined Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and the Water–Energy–Food (WEF) Nexus approach in assessing the effects of diet transitions. Diet LCAs differ in methodology, design, and assessed environmental impacts. The WEF nexus, which aims at finding synergies and trade-offs between the water, energy, and food resources systems, has been applied to different contexts and levels. However, a limited number of nexus methods have been developed at the food and diet levels, and no commonly recognizable methodology for the nexus assessment has been achieved. An integrated LCA and WEF Nexus approach can be a decisive tool to improve the understanding of the interconnections in the nexus, as it enables the consideration of entire supply chains.

Municipal solid waste (MSW) collection is an important issue in the development and management of smart cities, having a significant influence on environmental sustainability. Door-to-door and pneumatic collection are two systems that represent a way of arranging waste collection in city´s historic areas in Spain where conventional street-side container collection is not feasible. Since door-to-door collection generates significant direct greenhouse gas emissions from trucks, pneumatic collection emerges as an alternative to the trucking system. While this technology apparently reduces local direct air emissions, it suffers from a large energy demand derived from vacuum production for waste suction. The introduction of new normative frameworks regarding the selective collection of the biodegradable fraction makes necessary a comprehensive analysis to assess the influence of this fraction collection and its subsequent recycling by anaerobic digestion. As a novelty, this work compares both conventional door-to-door and pneumatic collection systems from a life cycle approach focusing on the biodegradable waste. Results indicate that, in spite of the fact electricity production and consumption have a significant influence on the results, the energy savings from the recycling of the organic fraction are higher than the energy requirements. Therefore, the pneumatic collection could be an environmentally-friendly option for MSW management under a circular economy approach in Spanish city´s historic areas, since wastes could be a material or energy source opportunity.

Food losses and waste (FLW) tend to be referred to in terms of mass, occasionally in economic terms, disregarding the nutritional-cost nexus of such losses. This work aims to estimate the nutritional food losses and waste (NFLW) of the Spanish agri-food system in terms of energy, macronutrients, fibre, and vitamins and minerals along the entire supply chain. Nutritional food losses (NFL) occurring prior to the distribution level, and nutritional food waste (NFW) at the retail and consumption stages, were distinguished, and 48 representative food commodities and 32 nutrients were characterised. To provide insight into the extent of these values, the results are compared to the equivalent recommended daily intake. In addition, the NFLW for an average Spanish citizen is compared to that for other representative diets: Mediterranean, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and vegan along with the Spanish recommended guidelines. Finally, a nutritional cost footprint (NCF) indicator combining nutritional and economic variables is proposed to define recovery strategies. The results suggest that 4251 kj (1016?kcal), 70.7?g proteins, 22?g dietary fibre, 975?μg vitamin A, 117?mg vitamin C and 332?mg calcium daily per capita are embedded within Spanish FLW. Agricultural production accounts for 40% of NFLW, and fruits and vegetables are the categories with the largest potential for nutritional and economic food wastage mitigation. Results from this paper provide NFLW data and analysis to strengthen and simplify the decision-making process of FLW management strategies.

Annually, around 7.7 billion passengers travel by plane. The menus served during the flight are quite similar between different airlines and are composed of the food itself, packaging (paper envelopes, film, etc.) and tableware (mainly trays, plates, glasses, cups and cutlery). In 2016, 1522 tonnes of tourist class menus were served in Iberia aircrafts landing at Madrid Barajas airport in Spain. From this amount, 51% by weight was packaging and tableware, and the remaining 49% food. As changes in the food has little room for maneuver, since the same amount would be delivered regardless how it is served, this study focus on the possibilities of packaging and tableware to reduce GHG emissions. The assessment has been done using life cycle assessment methodology (LCA) in order to identify the hotspots along the whole life cycle of packaging and tableware items. The case study chosen was the catering service of Iberia, the national airline of Spain. The functional unit used was “the service of 1,000 tourist class menus on Iberia flights that landed in Madrid in 2016”.

The results show that the impacts of reusable and single use items take place at different stages of their life cycles. For reusable ones, 76% of the impact is produced during the flight phase, meanwhile, for single use ones, 53% of the impact comes from the production stage.

Variables such as material, weight and the number of reuses can greatly influence greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. From the results of the analysis some eco-design strategies has been proposed and analysed. The paper reveals that the lighter single-use packaging and tableware for airline catering are less harmful under a life cycle perspective become

Improving the food supply chain efficiency has been identified as an essential means to enhance food security, while reducing pressure on natural resources. Adequate food loss and waste (FLW) management has been proposed as an approach to meet these objectives. The main hypothesis of this study is to consider that the “strong fluctuations and short-term changes” on eating habits may have major consequences on potential FLW generation and management, as well as on GHG emissions, all taking into account the nutritional and the economic cost. Due to the exceptional lockdown measures imposed by the Spanish government, as a consequence of the emerging coronavirus disease, COVID-19, food production and consumption systems have undergone significant changes, which must be properly studied in order to propose strategies from the lessons learned. Taking Spain as a case study, the methodological approach included a deep analysis of the inputs and outputs of the Spanish food basket, the supply chain by means of a Material Flow Analysis, as well as an economic and comprehensive nutritional assessment, all under a life cycle thinking approach. The results reveal that during the first weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown, there was no significant adjustment in overall FLW generation, but a partial reallocation from extra-domestic consumption to households occurred (12% increase in household FLW). Moreover, the economic impact (+11%), GHG emissions (+10%), and the nutritional content (−8%) complete the multivariable impact profile that the COVID-19 outbreak had on FLW generation and management. Accordingly, this study once again highlights that measures aimed at reducing FLW, particularly in the household sector, are critical to make better use of food surpluses and FLW prevention and control, allowing us to confront future unforeseen scenarios.

Copyright © 2020
All rights reserved.
UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and
Climate Change ESCI-UPF

Passeig Pujades 1, 08003
Barcelona, España
(+34) 93 295 4710

2024-07-20 12:19:54