94222 - Sustainability Indexes and Circularity of Resources

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Fabrizio Passarini (Modulo 1) Ivano Vassura (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Teaching and Communication of Natural Sciences (cod. 5704)

Learning outcomes

The course is focused on different approaches which integrate the knowledge of humanities and sciences, and which consider various social, economic and cultural perspectives. Starting from the analysis of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the opportunities of educational activities applied to the local situation, connected to initiatives of indoor and outdoor sustainability, will be defined and discussed. At the end of the course, students will be able to: (a) know, understand and utilize assessment tools relevant to the cycles of mineral and chemical substances in the ecosphere and technosphere; (b) interpret and use sustainability indicators; (c) know the methodologies for the evaluation of the territorial environmental impact due to industrial plants, from the preliminary study to the monitoring; (d) learn and understand the application of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) methodology for the assessment of environmental effects related to products, systems and services, with a particular focus on chemical processes.

Course contents

Basic concepts of environmental chemistry: structure and physico-chemical characteristics of major environmental media (atmosphere, hydrosphere and pedosphere) and main biogeochemical cycles.

Impact of anthropic sources on the environment with a particular attention to the environmental impacts most considered in the categories included in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies. Among these, stratospheric ozone depletion, greenhouse effect, photochemical smog formation, atmospheric particulate emission and generation, soil degradation in terms of organic substance content and redation of cationic exchange capacity, soil contamination (contaminated sites), water acidification and their eutrophication, and finally persistent pollutants in the environment and toxicity concepts.

Most used environmental sustainability indicators: carbon footprint, water footprint, cumulative energy demand.

Methodological and conceptual approach to the Life Cycle Assessment: definition of operation phases in relation to ISO standards referring to LCA, discussion of application examples, case study analysis.

Approach to the study of territorial environmental impacts by means of environmental monitoring.

Prerequisites: it is necessary that students have a good knowledge of the topics treated in the course of “Fondamenti di Didattica della Chimica”, as acid-base, redox and photochemical reactions. Basic physico-chemical concepts, as phase equilibria. Basic knowledge of ecosystems, animal and vegetation metabolism, mineralogy.


Chimica ambientale. Colin Baird Michael Cann. Zanichelli.

Basic Concepts of Environmental Chemistry - Des W. Connell, https://doi.org/10.1201/b12378

Jolliet O. et al, “Environmental Life Cycle Assessment”, CRC Press, 2016, https://doi.org/10.1201/b19138

Furthermore, in the academic libraries at Unibo, there are many publications and books (mainly written in English) about soil, water and atmospheric chemistry, from which one can find plenty of information on different topics discussed during the lectures.

Teaching methods

The course will be taught with theoretical lectures, focuses on application case studies, and particularly through exercitations, active/cooperative teaching methodologies, with the aim of encouraging a critical and interactive participation of the students

Assessment methods

The assessment will be performed through the single evaluation of the three integrated components and of the different modules constituting the course "Didattica e Sviluppo Sostenibile". Students will be required to discuss a topic previously chosen, well in advance, with the approval of the teachers. At the end of the presentation, starting from the proposed subject, the main aspects related to the overall training programme of the course will be investigated. The accuracy and completeness of the answers, their pertinence, and the specific terminology used will be assessed.
No additional equipment or adaptation relating to the exam is permitted, except in the case of a prior agreement among teachers, the interested student and the Service for disabled students and students with specific learning disabilities of Unibo.
Final grade will be expressed in thirtieths (xx/30). The registration through AlmaEsami is required for students who want to take the exam, complying mandatorily with the given deadlines. Those who could not register within the deadline due to technical difficulties, must promptly communicate (in any case, within the official closure of the registration list) the problem to the degree programme office. Teachers may decide to admit or not these students.

Teaching tools

The course will be taught with the aid of computer support for the projection of text and images, for database interrogation and calculation software use. An area of Unibo platform (https://virtuale.unibo.it/) will be set up to share ppt presentation, single and/or group reports, indications for exercitations.

Office hours

See the website of Fabrizio Passarini

See the website of Ivano Vassura


Good health and well-being Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.