What is an Life Cycle Assessment? Here is All You Need to Know!

By Mattias Jönsson

12 March, 2021

Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment, the other name of which is Life Cycle Analysis, elaborates the influence of various products and services on the environment. It assesses the effects of the product from its manufacture to its disposal.

So, you’re in a supermarket buying off a dairy product, and you can’t quite decide between these two brands. You think to yourself that which one of these is more eco-friendly? The answer to this question is not an easy one, and that’s what an Life Cycle Assessment answers. Life Cycle Assessment not only discusses the impact of the product on the environment but it has the ability to facilitate decisions of how to make it more sustainable.

Before we talk about the processes involved in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or its benefits, let’s discuss what it´s primarily for and who needs it.

Who is LCA for?

We can’t conclude a target audience for LCA in a single frame. The whole community is interested and questions the influence of a company on the surroundings they live in. It affects the following company departments:

Product Management / Research & Development (R&D)

1. Manufacturing New Products

LCA helps Product Management develop new products by contrasting two different raw materials and which one is more beneficial for both the company and the environment. It also helps manufacture products with the lowest possible emission and following ISO guidelines.

2. Following Regulations

In some countries, it’s indispensable to conduct LCA for your products and services to meet the standardized regulations for a certain project. It demands the company to provide its environmental footprint. So to make the existing or new products compliable, The Product Management/ Research & Development is required to conduct LCA.

Supply Chain Management / Procurement

LCA helps us to appraise different suppliers. The supply chain can have a massive influence on the impact of the product on the environment. Buying from the right supplier, taking into account the prices too, is the foremost step in making your products eco-friendly.

1. Marketing & Sales

Presenting your products to the consumers as sustainable is far the most important step, and LCA is a stairway towards it. The prompted insights can help you compete with your competitors and let you know where you are struggling.

2. Executive Level & Strategic Management

The way LCA looks at products from a broader point of view guides the Executive level & Strategic Management to avoid risks and plan strategically. This broader analysis can assist the company in striving toward success. 

Stages of LCA

1. Definition of Goal and Scope

Identifying the goal and scopes of an LCA involves determining what we’d like to evaluate, how we need to analyze it, and just how far we need to go.

2. Inventory Analysis

An LCA’s data collection process is the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI). We compile information and arrange it into input-output flows.

3. Impact Assessment

We specify our Impact Categories based on our priorities in stage 1 of our LCA. Impact Categories are the categories where you’d like to assess your impact. Stage 3 requires assessing the extent of the effects.

4. Interpretation of LCA

It’s not essential to interpret the conclusions at the very end, but drawing them after the whole process completes eliminates any doubts or errors.

We hope that this article has given you a better idea of how LCA works and how it might assist you. If you have any further questions, don´t hesitate to contact us!