Title: Life Cycle Data Network: Handbook for data developers and providers
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC104371
ISBN: 978-92-79-64013-1 (print)
978-92-79-64014-8 (pdf)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print)
1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 28251 EN
OP LB-NA-28251-EN-C (print)
OP LB-NA-28251-EN-N (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC104371
DOI: 10.2788/553203
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: After its debut in the European Commission’s Integrated Product Policy (COM (2003)302) as the “best framework for assessing the potential environmental impacts of products”, Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) and Assessment (LCA) has become increasingly used in support of community policies and business. Focus has been primarily on establishing agreed methods, both within Europe and internationally. The EC’s European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment (EPLCA) has continued to address the equally essential issue of data availability, coherence, and quality assurance. LCA has become an important approach to boost smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the EU. As an example, in the context of the Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative “A Resource Efficient Europe” , and the “Single Market for Green Products Communication” and related European Commission Recommendation for the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) Guide and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) Guides . These methodologies reflect a vital milestone in the aim to increase coherence and quality in the assessment of environmental performance of products and organisations. Other prominent applications include in support of the Waste Framework Directive, the Eco-design Directive, EU Ecolabel and EU GPP, the Raw Materials Initiative, the bio economy strategy, as well as providing a more advanced basis for indicators and targets accounting for the burdens of EU imports and exports to help focus policies and research funding. Life Cycle Thinking is essential in modern decision making in business and policy. Commonly implemented through Life Cycle Assessment, it is increasingly necessary to quantify the benefits and burdens associated with products, both goods and services, that occur in their supply chains, during use, as well as at the end-of-their lives. This helps to avoid the shifting of burdens between different geographic regions, generations and impacts. Within this framework, the EPLCA, developed by the JRC, together with DG-Environment, represents the reference point for data and methods essential to implementing Life Cycle based approaches. The EPLCA promotes the availability of data and information, with a focus on coherence and quality assurance. Although methodology development is advancing fast, the availability of coherent, quality-assured life cycle data and studies still represents a major challenge to mainstream the use of LCA and associated environmental footprint methods in business and in policy. To date, the EPLCA has facilitated several notable developments: - The Life Cycle Data Network (LCDN); launched in early 2014, aims at providing a globally usable infrastructure for consistent and quality assured life cycle data. - The European Reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD); comprises of Life Cycle emissions and resource consumption Inventory (LCI) data from front-running EU-level business associations and other sources for key materials, energy carriers, transport, and waste management, to be used as source for secondary data. - The Resource Directory (RD); provides a structured repository for several types of life cycle-based documents and studies, as well as a world-wide list of life cycle support software packages and databases from suppliers/developers, and service providers. - The Reviewer Registry (RR): provides a list of potential reviewers for different LCA schemes, and automatically assess the eligibility of single reviewers and reviewers’ teams, according to different levels of compliance. This guide provides comprehensive instructions on how to utilize the Life Cycle Data Network (LCDN) for publishing LCA data. It summarizes how to orchestrate the various tools in order to guide the data developers through the entire process from generation of a dataset to publication on the LCDN. Further and more detailed documentation for the individual steps can be found in the annexes to this technical report. In principle, the following steps are required in order to publish data on the LCDN and therefore covered in this document: 1. Prepare data (export from an LCA modelling tool) 2. Technical validation of the data 3. Set up a node for participation in the LCDN. 4. Upload of the data to the node 5. Publication of the data on the LCDN Beyond that, a detailed guidance on how document different ILCD-EL aspects, in three commonly used LCA software in Europe (Namely: GaBi , OpenLCA and SimaPro ), is also provided in this document. This document is providing some examples, taking into account some the above mentioned LCA software, because are the most commonly used and widespread in Europe, this does NOT imply any recommendation or endorsement from the JRC or the European Commission. An exemplary dataset was used to provide an overview and understanding of how to address some compliance issues, in different software. Some general guiding principles that apply to all of the software are summarized, along with a short review of discrepancies found when exporting the dataset in ILCD format using the individual LCA software. The editable compliance elements are explained individually, showing some screenshots of different software tools. Finally a set of slides, resuming the content of this guide, is provided in annex II.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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