LCA mainstreaming conditions in Latin America—based on learnings from 2005 to 2014

  • Sonia ValdiviaEmail author
  • Guido Sonnemann
  • Llorenç Milà i Canals



Based on the 2005–2014 developments in the Latin American and the Caribbean region (LAC), this paper aims to understand the conditions’ levels for mainstreaming life cycle assessment/life cycle management (LCA/LCM) and map key next actions.


Along the paper, four mainstreaming conditions are analyzed: expansion of LCM/LCA training activities, availability of LCA studies, national LCA database operating, and existence and activity of national life cycle network(s). Assuming that countries with better conditions are in a better position to develop national LCA based regulations, policies are also researched to complement this study.

Results and discussion

With nine life cycle (LC) networks in 2014, the LAC region has positively developed its networking capacities since 2005 but not the databases area (only one LCA database, Mexicaniuh, is fully operational). It was found that countries with no networks, lack all LCA trainings, studies, and databases.

Local capacities are limited which in best case, Chile, does not exceed 18 practitioners per 10 million inhabitants. Based on the total score on mainstreaming conditions, Mexico and Brazil are the most advanced countries, but their markets for LCA professionals are still small (Valdivia et al. 2015), which suggests that tailored made strategies are needed for stronger uptake of LCA by industrial sectors.

Argentina, Peru, Chile, and Colombia are in the second tier but still lack a critical mass of business cases and the political will to improve their mainstreaming conditions.


LCA development in the LAC region since 2005 is overall positive but still insufficient to serve the growth of prosperous LCA markets. Well-functioning LC networks are essential to leapfrog LCA. In 2014, about 27 % of LAC countries counted on a LC network. A common language in the region (except for Portuguese in Brazil) has been instrumental for expanding LCA through regional cooperation. LCA-based policies are boosted when local capacities and databases are available following the cases of Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. More data and research are needed to understand the women role in advancing LCA and the causalities and motivations of LAC companies to decide for LCA implementation. The application of the methodology was possible thanks to good quality data available and delivered key findings to develop national road maps for advancing LCA. No indicator used is specific for the LAC region and similar exercises are encouraged in other regions such as Africa and Asia.


Databases Latin America LCA LCM Networks 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Valdivia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guido Sonnemann
    • 2
  • Llorenç Milà i Canals
    • 3
  1. 1.World Resources ForumSaint GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of BordeauxTalenceFrance
  3. 3.UNEPParisFrance

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