An LCA database is only as good as the services it provides: for example, in terms of the policies or decisions it can support. In this regard, identifying the user-base for the database is needed and it is therefore crucial to get a clear understanding of the user-needs. As part of the conception phase it is important to identify the specific needs of one or a few key user groups, and that the available resources are deployed to respond to these needs. With the main objective being to ‘set the wheels in motion’. This approach requires that a certain degree of flexibility is maintained in terms of who will be the initial or primary users of the database. In the Roadmap Reports examples can be found, for instance in the cases of India and Peru.
Needs to consider
National self-sufficiency in terms of data coverage should not be a core objective, especially in the early phase. But it will be important later on so that the database is maintained and is up-to-date; a core expectation from users.
Connectivity to other databases is generally much appreciated by users. There are a number of LCI/ LCA databases of a global scope that can serve to provide supplementary data for sectors not covered or on parts of supply chains outside the national boundaries. For this to work satisfactorily, though, data interoperability is imperative. The GLAD initiative is playing an important role in assuring interoperability.