A key factor hampering the use of life cycle thinking in policy-making and environmental decisions, in countries around the world, is the lack of regionally representative data for Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). Having regionally representative data for LCA is key for measuring resource efficiency, environmental impacts and even circularity in our products and economies. This Helpdesk is for individuals and entities wanting to increase LCA data availability by driving national LCA database development in their respective countries or regions.

Why a national database?

Good decisions need good information; but a lack of regional data makes using life cycle thinking in policy-making and environmental decisions difficult.  Having a national database, that is financially viable, can help greater use of LCA in a country.

But before developing a national database it’s important to carefully plan what needs to be done and by whom.  Setting a timeframe is key as data is constantly changing. Here’s what the process to set-up a national (or sector specific) database could look like.

Steps to set-up a national or sector specific LCA database:

  1. Initiation
  2. Conception
  3. Development
  4. Distribution
  5. Operationalization.

What is outlined here comes from previous experiences in developing national LCA databases , as well as from relevant literature.  It  follows the process outlined in  UNEP “Roadmap for national LCA database development” publication .

Please note that this LCA Helpdesk does not provide information about or promote any specific databases.