User needs analysis and development of priorities for life cycle impact assessment

UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative

DOI: 10.1007/BF02994189

Cite this article as:
Stewart, M. & Jolliet, O. Int. J. LCA (2004) 9: 153. doi:10.1007/BF02994189


The development of the LCIA programme of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative started with a global survey of LCA practitioners. There were 91 LCIA-specific responses from all global regions. Respondents gave an indication of how they use LCA with respect to both the stage of LCA that they base decisions on (LCI, LCIA or a combination of both) as well as the types of decisions which they support with LCA information. The issues requiring immediate attention within the UNEP SETAC Life Cycle Initiative identified from this User Needs analysis are the need for transparency in the methodology, for scientific confidence and for scientific co-operation as well as the development of a recommended set of factors and methodologies. Of interest is the fact that results from the different regions highlighted the need for different impact categories. Based on this information proposals were made for new impact categories to be included in LCA (and thus LCIA).

The LCIA programme aims to enhance the availability of sound LCA data and methods and to deliver guidance on their use. More specifically, it aims to 1) make results and recommendations widely available for users through the creation of a worldwide accessible information system and 2) establish recommended characterisation factors and related methodologies for the different impact categories, possibly consisting of sets at both midpoint and damage level. The work of the LCIA programme of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative has been started within four task forces on 1) LCIA information system and framework, 2) natural resources and land use, 3) toxic impacts, and 4) transboundary impacts. All participants willing to contribute to these efforts are invited to contact the LCIA programme manager or to join the next LCIA workgroup meeting that will take place in at the world SETAC congress in Portland on Thursday 18 November 2004.

Copyright information

© Ecomed Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of SydneySydney, NSWAustralia
  2. 2.Industrial Ecology & Life Cycle Systems Group, GECOS-Institute of Environmental Sciences and TechnologyEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland

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