Every LCA needs data, lots of data and good data. Without inventory databases we would probably spend years for an LCA study—or we would not do LCA at all. New and more far-reaching applications of LCA, like EPD tools, company LCA, or national footprints increase the demand for data, while new developments in impact assessment, like water footprinting or natural capital valuation, also require advancements in inventory models.
Open questions include: How can we cope with additional data challenges that are imposed by the increasing globalization of value chains? How do we intend to apply new regionalized impact assessment methods if the corresponding inventory data is not available? What do we do if the ISO norms require a sensitivity analysis of allocation approaches or if the allocation approach that was agreed on in a harmonization activity (e.g. Product Environmental Footprint, PEF) is not followed by the background inventory databases? What chances does “big data” offer for LCA, e.g. in terms of behavioural data for the use phase? These and further questions highlight that inventory models and databases are a dynamic field of research, where continuous innovation is key.
This special issue describes how ecoinvent as a leading data initiative in LCA is addressing these challenges to cope with the growing demand for environmental services.
The article is available here.
For more information, please contact Quantis Zürich Managing Director Rainer Zah.