What is a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) measures the environmental impact of a product throughout it’s entire lifecycle. The life cycle is divided into 5 main stages, including:

  1. Raw Material Extraction
  2. Manufacturing & Processing
  3. Transportation
  4. Consumer Usage & Retail
  5. End of Life
5 stages of life cycle assessment

What are the 4 steps of a Life Cycle Assessment?

1. Goal and Scope Definition:

Before conducting an LCA, it’s crucial to have clear goals and scope of the assessment. This involves specifying the impact categories; the boundaries; and applications of the results.

2. Inventory Analysis:

The inventory analysis is the heart of the LCA. It involves collecting data from each life cycle stage. This includes raw material extraction, energy consumption, emissions, waste generation, and transportation.

3. Impact Assessment

Once the data is collected, the impact assessment can be created.

4. Interpretation

The interpretation phase involves drawing conclusions based on the data and analysis conducted. Now you can identify opportunities for improvement in the product or process.

According to ISO 14044:2006, interpretations of a Life Cycle Assessment should include:

  • Identifying significant issues based on our LCI and LCIA phase
  • Evaluating the study itself, how complete it is, if it’s done sensitively and consistently
  • Conclusions, limitations, and recommendations

What are Life Cycle Assessment’s used for?

1. Product Design and Improvement:

LCAs guide the design and development of products with lower environmental impact. You can carryout hotpot analysis. This enables manufacturers to make informed decisions to reduce resource consumption and emissions.

2. Environmental Labelling:

LCAs can provide consumers with information about the environmental performance of products. Environmental labels, such as carbon footprint labels, help consumers make sustainable choices.

3. Policy and Regulation:

LCAs provide a scientific basis for setting standards and targets.

4. Supply Chain Management:

LCAs are valuable tools for evaluating and improving the sustainability of supply chains. Businesses can work with suppliers to optimise processes.

CarbonBright has performed thousands of Life Cycle Assessments on products.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Software & Tools

LCA’s can be very technical and difficult calculations. Tools and software solutions can make this easier. That’s why we created our own product footprint tool.

CarbonBright helps companies turn their environmental data into business opportunities. Our LCA software produces fast and scalable life cycle assessments empowering product companies to measure, analyse and lower their product impact.