Chris France

Professor Chris France

CTA Director
+44 (0)1483 686683
16 BA 02

Academic and research departments

Centre for Environment and Sustainability.


My publications


Lee J, LLoyd S, Elghali L, Clifton A, France C (2011) Ecodesign through environmental risk management: A focus on critical materials, Proceedings of Ecodesign 2011: 7th International Symposium on environmentally conscious design and inverse manufacturing pp. 374-379
Wehrmeyer WCH, Nayar GA, Phillips CA, Crankshaw N, Marsh N, France C (2015) The efficacy of Safety Data Sheets in informing risk based decision making: A review of the aerospace sector, Journal of Chemical Health and Safety 23 (3) pp. 19-29 Elsevier
Safety Data Sheets are the primary source of hazard information on chemical substances and mixtures and are used to inform risk assessments. It is imperative to ascertain the quality of this primary source of information in informing risk based decision making. The content of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) is governed by regulatory requirements outlined under the Globally Harmonised System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). However, regulation in itself does not provide assurance of the quality of the content of the SDS. This study assesses and creates an awareness of the quality of Safety Data Sheets and establishes the criteria for ranking the quality of various sections in the SDS. 200 Safety Data Sheets have been selected from the aerospace sector and assessed for their quality. A review of the 200 SDS has identified significant statistical differences between the various sections of the SDS and the quality of information between hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals. The data analysis suggests a limited impact of GHS and REACH, Annex II Regulations on the overall quality of content of the Safety Data Sheets.
France C, Wehrmeyer W, Leitner A (2010) The impact of regulation and policy on radical eco-innovation: The need for a new understanding, Management Research Review 33 (11)
Webb A, Mayers K, France C, Koomey J (2013) Estimating the energy use of high definition games consoles, ENERGY POLICY 61 pp. 1412-1421 ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Geldermann J, Schollenberger H, Rentz O, Huppes G, van Oers L, France C, Nebel B, Clift R, Lipkova A, Saetta S, Desideri U, May T (2007) An integrated scenario analysis for the metal coating sector in Europe, TECHNOLOGICAL FORECASTING AND SOCIAL CHANGE 74 (8) pp. 1482-1507 ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC
Lloyd S, Lee J, Clifton A, Elghali L, France C (2012) Recommendations for assessing materials criticality, Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Waste and Resource Management 165 (4) pp. 191-200
This paper provides recommendations for assessing the criticality of materials (metals and non-fuel minerals), including the need for context-dependent assessment methods, providing a framework for conducting criticality assessments. Materials criticality captures concerns over the accessibility of materials, as the product of assessing a material's 'supply risk' and the impact of a supply restriction. Through a review of selected studies, problems with criticality assessments are discussed, highlighting how these become particularly important when the results of assessments are used in decision making. Considering how the results of criticality assessments are used in decision making highlights how criticality exhibits some of the characteristics of a 'complex context'. Building on predefined attributes of effective decision support in complex contexts, recommendations are made on how these problems can be addressed to better assess criticality in the future. These also include building on metric-based assessment methods by developing scenarios of future material supply and demand.
Atkinson G, Doick K, Burningham K, France C (2014) Brownfield regeneration to greenspace: Delivery of project objectives for social and environmental gain, URBAN FORESTRY & URBAN GREENING 13 (3) pp. 586-594 ELSEVIER GMBH, URBAN & FISCHER VERLAG
Clift R, France C (2006) Extended Producer Responsibility in the EU - A visible march of folly, JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY 10 (4) pp. 5-7 M I T PRESS
Lloyd S, Clifton A, Lee J, Elghali L, France C (2012) A framework for environmental risk management, AERONAUTICAL JOURNAL 116 (1183) pp. 941-961 ROYAL AERONAUTICAL SOC
Williams D, Elghali L, Wheeler R, France C (2012) Climate change influence on building lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions: Case study of a UK mixed-use development, ENERGY AND BUILDINGS 48 pp. 112-126 ELSEVIER SCIENCE SA
Peagam R, McIntyre K, Basson L, France C (2013) Business-to-Business Information Technology User Practices at End of Life in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY 17 (2) pp. 224-237 WILEY-BLACKWELL
Carter DT, Stansfield N, Mantle RJ, France CM, Smith PA (2008) An investigation of epoxidised linseed oil as an alternative to PVC in flooring applications, INDUSTRIAL CROPS AND PRODUCTS 28 (3) pp. 309-319 ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Sealy I, Wehrmeyer W, France C, Leach M (2010) Sustainable development management systems in global business organizations, Management Research Review 33 (11) pp. 1083-1096
Mayers K, Peagam R, France C, Basson L, Clift R (2011) Redesigning the Camel The European WEEE Directive, JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY 15 (1) pp. 4-8 WILEY-BLACKWELL
Mayers K, Koomey J, Hall R, Bauer M, France C, Webb A (2015) The Carbon Footprint of Games Distribution, JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL ECOLOGY 19 (3) pp. 402-415 WILEY-BLACKWELL
Clift R, Sim S, King H, Chenoweth JL, Christie IP, Clavreul J, Mueller C, Posthuma L, Boulay A, Chaplin-Kramer R, Chatterton J, DeClerck F, Druckman A, France CM, Franco A, Gerten D, Goedkoop M, Hauschild M, Huijbregts M, Koellner T, Lambin E, Lee J, Mair SJ, Marshall S, McLachlan M, Milà i Canals L, Mitchell C, Price E, Rockström J, Suckling JR, Murphy RJ (2017) The Challenges of Applying Planetary Boundaries as a Basis for Strategic Decision-Making in Companies with Global Supply Chains, Sustainability 9 (2) MDPI
The Planetary Boundaries (PB) framework represents a significant advance in specifying the ecological constraints on human development. However, to enable decision-makers in business and public policy to respect these constraints in strategic planning, the PB framework needs to be developed to generate practical tools. With this objective in mind, we analyse the recent literature and highlight three major scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the PB approach in decision-making: first, identification of thresholds or boundaries with associated metrics for different geographical scales; second, the need to frame approaches to allocate fair shares in the ?safe operating space? bounded by the PBs across the value chain and; third, the need for international bodies to co-ordinate the implementation of the measures needed to respect the Planetary Boundaries. For the first two of these challenges, we consider how they might be addressed for four PBs: climate change, freshwater use, biosphere integrity and chemical pollution and other novel entities. Four key opportunities are identified: (1) development of a common system of metrics that can be applied consistently at and across different scales; (2) setting ?distance from boundary? measures that can be applied at different scales; (3) development of global, preferably open-source, databases and models; and (4) advancing understanding of the interactions between the different PBs. Addressing the scientific and technical challenges in operationalizing the planetary boundaries needs be complemented with progress in addressing the equity and ethical issues in allocating the safe operating space between companies and sectors.
Aslan Joshua, Mayers K, Koomey JG, France Christopher (2017) Electricity Intensity of Internet Data Transmission: Untangling the Estimates, Journal of Industrial Ecology 22 (4) pp. 785-798 Wiley
In order to understand the electricity use of Internet services, it is important to have accurate estimates for the average electricity intensity of transmitting data through the Internet (measured as kilowatt-hours per gigabyte [kWh/GB]). This study identifies representative estimates for the average electricity intensity of fixed-line Internet transmission networks over time and suggests criteria for making accurate estimates in the future. Differences in system boundary, assumptions used, and year to which the data apply significantly affect such estimates. Surprisingly, methodology used is not a major source of error, as has been suggested in the past. This article derives criteria to identify accurate estimates over time and provides a new estimate of 0.06 kWh/GB for 2015. By retroactively applying our criteria to existing studies, we were able to determine that the electricity intensity of data transmission (core and fixed-line access networks) has decreased by half approximately every 2 years since 2000 (for developed countries), a rate of change comparable to that found in the efficiency of computing more generally.
Driven by increased urbanisation, construction of buildings and infrastructure continues to grow worldwide, further exacerbating the social and environmental impacts created by this sector. Large scale projects, requiring thousands of component parts and globally sourced materials, flow across supply networks to construct built assets. Embodied within these supply networks are minerals, energy, water, labour, waste, modern slavery and other human rights abuses. This thesis focuses on the UK construction industry and the ability of the main contractor, a key procurer of materials and manager of the build process, to affect the sustainability of the final asset. This research is case study based on unprecedented access to staff and key suppliers of a major UK main contractor, Carillion plc. The work is an holistic approach to sustainability, incorporating both social and environmental lifecycle thinking, sustainable supply chain theory, and the fields of stakeholder and collaborative working. Applying grounded theory methodology, four major themes emerge from this inductive research; fragmentation, the role of focal nodes, inter- and intra-company collaboration and knowledge of sustainability. Set within the context of a lifecycle perspective they define the ability of the main contractor to directly implement or influence sustainable build. The research develops theory uniting economic equity, network actor perspective and life stage impacts. The findings demonstrate that operating within current unsustainable business models the main contractor can only play a bit role. Additionally, it provides the basis for recommendations on business model, policy and process change.
There is increasing concern over the climate change impact of games consoles. There is, however, little research on the life cycle carbon impact of consoles and existing research (the majority of which is focused on usage) is outdated. This study uses life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to compare the climate change impact of different console-based gaming methods (i.e. games played from a disc, a down-loaded file, or streamed from the cloud).

Console usage and Internet usage were identified as life cycle stages where data were unknown or uncertain. Two studies to improve the understanding of these areas were undertaken in this research and used to complete a cradle-to-grave carbon footprint study of gaming (compared using a functional unit of carbon equivalent emissions per hour of gameplay).

Results estimated that, for average cases, download is the lowest carbon method of gaming at 0.047 kgCO2e/h, followed by disc at 0.055 kgCO2e/h. Cloud gaming has higher estimated carbon emissions at 0.149 kgCO2e/h, largely due to the additional energy consumed during use in the Internet, gaming servers, and home router equip-ment. These findings only represent average cases and the size of game files and length of gameplay time were found to be key variables significantly impacting the results. For example, for games played for under 8 hours, cloud gaming was found to have lower carbon emissions than downloads (up to 24 hours when compared to disc).

In order to analyse these results, a new method for identifying which gaming method has the lowest carbon emissions with variation in both file size and gameplay time was developed. This has allowed for the identification of the thresholds in which different gaming methods have lowest carbon emissions, for any given range of input variables. The carbon emissions of gaming are highly dependent on consumer behav-iour (which game method is used, how long games are played for, and the type and size of those games) and therefore LCA based on average assumptions for these variables has limited application.

Municipal waste production is one of the most widely recognised environmental issues in society today. In the UK, households are responsible for generating millions of tonnes of waste materials each year, with food waste proving to be a particularly problematic waste stream. Local authorities, who are responsible for waste management, have historically relied on changes to physical infrastructure or informational interventions to drive performance improvements. However, in times of increasing financial pressures, there has been a growing recognition that the transition to a sustainable, resilient and resourceful society will require fundamental changes to the way people think and behave. Indeed, what connects many modern-day sustainability challenges are their roots in human behaviour.

While various ?tools of government? can be employed to realise strategic public policy objectives, emergent localism and the apparent ineffectiveness of this traditional approach catalysed a shift towards ensuring that statutory requirements were delivered more efficiently than ever before. This led to a widespread application of ?insights?, synthesised from behavioural sciences, to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of new policy interventions. Enthusiasm to the so-called ?nudge? approach, which recognises that behaviour can be strongly and automatically influenced by the context in which it is situated, soon trickled down to local government, creating a growing appetite for the approach. These collective ?behavioural insights? provided local authorities with a powerful new set of policy tools that, if used correctly, could be used to influence waste behaviours.

This research explored their application by evaluating the efficacy and affordability of those nudges that could feasibly be introduced at scale by local authority practitioners to produce a positive and sustained influence on household food waste recycling behaviour. By adopting a mixed-methods approach it was shown that, by making simple changes to the existing ?choice environment? in Surrey, it was possible to ?nudge? households towards engaging (more) in food waste recycling behaviour. Further, it was found that prompt-based nudges, using stickers as the medium of delivery, were particularly effective, with effects persisting for far longer than has typically been achieved using more ?traditional? informational policy interventions.

While popular, the practice of ?nudging? has a range of issues, both conceptual and controversial, so it is important for policymakers to be aware of the differing philosophies, efficacy, methodologies and ethics associated with these types of intervention. While nudges may not be the ?silver bullet?, it is argued that they are, at least for now, useful devices for policymakers to have in their ?toolkit?.

Additional publications