Life cycle assessment

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LCA - Life Cycle Assessment is a technique that is used to examine the environmental aspects and potential impacts throughout the life-cycle of the product from raw material acquisition or production of natural resources by the production, use, until its final liquidation.

Analysis of the life cycle consists of the following stages:

  • define the purpose and scope,
  • identification of aspects that affect the environment,
  • assessment of impacts on the environment,
  • conclusions concerning the possibility of improvements.

First studies concerning aspects and assessment of potential impacts in the life cycle of the product were conducted in the late sixties and seventies. They concerned the analysis of the efficiency of use of raw materials and energy, a pioneer in this respect was Coca-cola company.

Main standard associated with the life cycle of the product is ISO 14040 (Environmental Management - Life Cycle Assessment - Principles and structure). Additional details concerning the methods are included in the complementary international standards ISO 14041, ISO 14042, ISO 14043, ISO / TR 14049.

LCA - This is a useful diagnostic tool in the management of environmental sustainability. As a result of LCA, managers identify areas that are the source of the special burdens on the environment or human health. Information from analyzes can be used by enterprise to:

  • improve manufacturing and distribution processes,
  • product design changes,
  • replacement of harmful components.


  • Klöpffer, W. (1997). Life cycle assessment. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 4(4), 223-228.