Title: Recommended impact assessment methods for ILCD and Environmental Footprint: challenges, opportunities and updates
Publisher: Setac
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC92930
ISSN: 2309-8031
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC92930
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Within the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook, 14 methods were recommended for impact assessment in LCA. The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) builds on these recommendations. The ILCD analysis, evaluation and selection of recommended methods refers to methods available by 2008. Several impact categories have experienced a significant development and should be subject to updates in ILCD. Thus, there is the clear need for an update of the recommendations both from a harmonisation perspectives as well as for scientific credibility. In the context of the PEF, the EC-JRC is in the process of updating ILCD recommendations, focusing mainly on 4 impact categories, namely: water depletion (WD), resource depletion (RD), land use (LU) and respiratory inorganics (RI). In order to support an update of the ILCD and PEF recommendations a three-step evaluation procedure has been put in place: i) qualitative screening for newly developed methods, ii) benchmark among the available methods; iii) applicability analysis wit reference to life-cycle inventory data and elementary flows. This approach will ensure identifying not only the (theoretically/scientifically) best LCIA method but also whether there any significant gaps in LCI data availability to feed the LCIA models or issues regarding unexpected results and anomalies that need further attention. The limits of the LCIA methods related to day-to-day applicability will be carefully evaluated and some results of the screening are provided. As regards the LU, it seems reasonable to expand the LCIA method, at least at mid-point level, accounting more than one impact category, considering the multi-functionality of land. The selection of method(s) was also based on the availability of scientific literature and case-studies, and in order to facilitate the applicability with the currently available datasets containing inventory data on LU. Concerning WU, special attention is given to aspects such as consumptive use only vs. overall withdrawals, spatial differentiation, temporal scale environmental water requirements, as well as the applicability of the methods to currently available datasets. In case of RD, the three-step evaluation procedure is preceded by a careful consideration of what should be assessed in terms of impact on the Area of Protection Natural Resources (AoP), given the poor substantiation of this AoP in the LCA community so far.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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