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What is Life Cycle Assessment?

&r=1" class="c1"> In order to standardize procedures for LCA, the ISO 14000 environmental management standards were created. The most well known database available is the Ecoinvent database, that mainly consists in European information.

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LCA requires that all impacts are calculated for a given product or activity. However, this simple definition does not make clear just what “all impacts” means. It is also not clear how do we calculate these impacts.

In order to standardize procedures for LCA, the ISO 14000 environmental management standards series was created. Regulations are stated in ISO 14040:2006 and 14044:2006 (ISO 14044 replaced earlier versions of ISO 14041 to ISO 14043).

However, the operationalization of this process according to the ISO standards is still very time costly, and requires expert judgment that companies usually do not possess. This is because all impacts still have to be obtained for each process in the life cycle we intend to study.

As a solution to this problem, several impact databases and software for LCA calculations have been developed. They follow ISO procedures, and provide us with a large pre-defined impact database for most common processes and inputs in most product life cycles. Ecoinvent is the most well known of these databases.