Teaching life cycle assessment in higher education

Tobias Viere*, Ben Amor, Nicolas Berger, Ruba Dolfing Fanous, Rachel Horta Arduin, Regula Keller, Alexis Laurent, Philippe Loubet, Philip Strothmann, Steffi Weyand, Laurie Wright, Guido Sonnemann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Purpose: Scientific Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) literature provides some examples of LCA teaching in higher education, but not a structured overview of LCA teaching contents and related competencies. Hence this paper aims at assessing and highlighting trends in LCA learning outcomes, teaching approaches and developed content used to equip graduates for their future professional practices in sustainability. Methods: Based on a literature review on teaching LCA in higher education and a collaborative consensus building approach through expert group panel discussions, an overview of LCA learning and competency levels with related teaching contents and corresponding workload is developed. The levels are built on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and Bloom’s taxonomy of learning. Results and discussion: The paper frames five LCA learning and competency levels that differ in terms of study program integration, workload, cognitive domain categories, learning outcomes, and envisioned professional skills. It furthermore provides insights into teaching approaches and content, including software use, related to these levels. Conclusions and recommendations: This paper encourages and supports higher educational bodies to implement a minimum of ‘life cycle literacy’ into students’ curriculum across various domains by increasing the availability, visibility and quality of their teaching on life cycle thinking and LCA.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Pages (from-to)511–527
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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