Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the systematic analysis of the environmental impact of products during their entire life cycle.

The life cycle of a product comprises of production, use and disposal phases. Environmental impacts are evaluated throughout, also including the upstream and downstream processes associated with the production (e.g. production of raw, auxiliary and operating materials) and with the disposal (e.g. waste treatment). Environmental impacts refer to all relevant extractions from the environment (e.g. ores and crude oil), as well as emissions into the same (e.g. wastes and carbon dioxide).

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), provides guidelines for conducting an Life Cycle Assessment within the series ISO 14040 and 14044.

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The main phases of LCA

Goal & Scope definition

The product or service to be assessed is defined, a functional basis for comparison is chosen and the required level of detail is defined.

Inventory analysis

An inventory analysis of extractions and emissions is performed. An inventory list of all the inputs and ouputs of a product or service.

Impact assessment

The effects of the resource use and emissions generated are grouped and quantified into a limited number of impact categories which may then be weighted for importance.

 

Interpretation

The results are reported in the most informative way possible and the need and opportunities to reduce the impact of the product(s) or service(s) on the environment are systematically evaluated.

 

thinkstep's LCA consulting can support you throughout all four phases. 

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