Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

The ecoinvent database is used to support a wide range of studies. From internal organisational studies to respond to product development or production, to in-depth, ISO compliant studies.

Sept 29th, 2023

Specifically, ecoinvent data are used as background, comprehensive data to support assessments on the environmental impacts of activities and products, reaching far beyond CO2 footprints. Water consumption, biodiversity loss, human toxicity, or resource depletion are some of the aspects that can be considered with the support of the ecoinvent database.

A life cycle perspective is crucial to avoid shifting burdens up or down the supply chain or to other life cycle stages, between different environmental problems (impact categories), to other locations, or into the future. LCA is a standardized (ISO 14044:2006) and science-based system analysis tool and assessment technique to understand, manage, and improve the environmental performance of products and processes over their entire life cycle (cradle-to-grave). LCA can underpin communication efforts, e.g., to promote the benefits of more sustainable products or practices, for mandatory or voluntary ‘eco-labels,’ or in response to requests for environmental information. The concept of LCA can also be applied to evaluate designs, organizations, consumption patterns, or even the environmental footprint of countries. 

LCA, in its various areas of applications, as well as any type of sustainability assessment based on a life cycle perspective, is data intensive. Background LCI databases, like the ecoinvent database provide inventory data for the complete supply chains. They include information on core economic activities of high relevance to most product systems, allowing LCA practitioners to focus their efforts on the activities most relevant for their systems (foreground data). The ecoinvent database aims to represent key economic activities on a global, regional, and national level. 

The ecoinvent database is integrated in all leading LCA software tools such as SimaPro, OpenLCA, Umberto and Sphera

Explore some examples of LCA case studies based on ecoinvent data: 

doc-icon  Makersite | Powering fast LCAs for Einhorn 

doc-icon  PRé Sustainability | Developing Advanced Sustainability Profiles 

doc-icon  PRé Sustainability | Understanding Environmental Impacts of Plastics