DescriptionThe data collection process, performed during the life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis phase, is the most resource-demanding and time-consuming step when conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA). Despite being an essential step, the methodological framework for the LCI analysis phase as described in ISO 14040/44 is not detailed enough, and a clear and systematic stepwise approach guiding LCA practitioners through the data collection process when conducting an LCA is still missing. As a result, variations in the implementation of the LCI data gathering process occur, leading to different levels of detail when reporting LCI data and ultimately hampering transparency and reproducibility in LCA studies. A critical review of guidance documents and LCA studies was conducted to obtain a state-of-the-art on LCA data collection practices and based on the observed gaps, a systematic, comprehensive, and detailed stepwise framework is proposed, along with recommended methods and a flexible and customizable LCI data collection template to assist LCA practitioners with the data collection process in the LCI phase. The framework consists of three steps: planning of data collection (Step 1), data gathering process (Step 2), and LCI block finalization (Step 3). The applicability of the framework and the LCI data collection template were tested using an illustrative case of NMC811 lithium-ion batteries. The framework assisted the LCA practitioner in customizing the accompanying reusable LCI data collection template, helped structure the workflow within the LCI data collection step, and facilitated the communication between the LCA practitioner and LCI data providers. Both tools allowed a full-fledged data collection in the LCI stage and are applicable for all LCA case studies. Furthermore, they could help overcome transparency and reproducibility issues of LCI data. We call for applying these two tools when conducting LCA case studies to enhance the reliability of LCAs in the scientific community, policy, and society.
|16 May 2022
|SETAC Europe 32nd Annual Meeting: Towards a Reduced Pollution
|Degree of Recognition