Recent developments in Life cycle Assessment

Summary

Life Cycle Assessment is a tool to assess the environmental impacts and resources used throughout a product's life cycle, i.e., from raw material acquisition, via production and use phases, to waste management. The methodological development in LCA has been strong, and LCA is broadly applied in practice. The aim of this paper is to provide a review of recent developments of LCA methods. The focus is on some areas where there has been an intense methodological development during the last years. We also highlight some of the emerging issues. In relation to the Goal and Scope definition we especially discuss the distinction between attributional and consequential LCA. For the Inventory Analysis, this distinction is relevant when discussing system boundaries, data collection, and allocation. Also highlighted are developments concerning databases and Input-Output and hybrid LCA. In the sections on Life Cycle Impact Assessment we discuss the characteristics of the modelling as well as some recent developments for specific impact categories and weighting. In relation to the Interpretation the focus is on uncertainty analysis. Finally, we discuss recent developments in relation to some of the strengths and weaknesses of LCA.

Coworkers: Tomas Ekvall

Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment, LCA, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Risk assessment, LCC, Ecological footprint, Exergy analysis, Valuation, Weighting

Year: 2010.0

Report number: A1791

Authors: Göran Finnveden, Michael Z. Hauschild, Tomas Ekvall, Jeroen Guinée, Reinout Heijungs, Stefanie Hellweg, Annette Koehle, David W Pennington, Sangwon Suh

Published in: Journal of Environmental Management, 2009. Volume 91, Issue 1, Pages 1-21