Tools & Data II: Tools and Data for LCM II
Time: Tuesday, 30/Aug/2011: 11:15am - 12:30pm
Session Chair: Paolo Masoni
Session Chair: Tomas Vilhelm Rydberg
Location: Room 1
2nd floor


Ecoinvent database version 3 – the practical implications of the choice of system model

Bo Weidema

The ecoinvent Centre, Switzerland

In the new version 3 of the ecoinvent LCI database, the user can choose between different system models that reflect different LCI modelling algorithms applied to the same underlying unit process data. The system models reflect different consequential and attributional models, i.e. linking of inputs to either average or unconstrained suppliers, and arriving at single-product systems either by partitioning (allocation) according to different allocation properties or by substitution (system expansion). New approaches, such as the ILCD handbook’s recommendation of system expansion with average flows, can also be accommodated by the new, flexible database structure.

The presentation explains the new linking structure of the database that allows this flexibility and the struc-ture of the workflow in database management. The practical implications for the end users of the different system models are highlighted and illustrated by comparative results of different LCIs performed on the same products with the preliminary ecoinvent 3 database. The consequences of choosing different modelling approaches will be discussed.

Development of Chinese reference life cycle database (CLCD) – Guidance, documentation and tools

Hongtao Wang, Zhihui Wang, Cidong Fan, Ping Hou, Na Huang, Hao Zhang, Qin He, Yongguang Zhu

Sichuan University, Republic of China

The first version of Chinese Reference Life Cycle Database (CLCD), which is a process-based and national average LCI database, has been released in 2010 and continuously expanded. The guidance, documentation and tools for development of CLCD will be briefly introduced in this paper.

In order to facilitate further development of CLCD in a consistent and efficient way, a stepwise guidance for database developers is established, which cover the whole procedures of development of unit process inventory data (UPI) and that of aggregated process (API) as well as data review. The guidance provides requirements and suggestions for each step of data development.

Parallel to the stepwise guidance, instructions for documenting of UPI and API were provided too. Even though ISO14048 indicates that the same data documentation format (DDF) can be applied for both UPI and API, the differentials and relationships between the UPI and API documentation formats were discussed. Furthermore, a data acquisition documentation format (DADF) was proposed and applied in CLCD for development of UPI, by which raw data and data processing can be fully documented. DADF intends to make the development of UPI more traceable, reproducible, transparent and easier to be verified and updated.

To support the guidance and documentation format, special features have been developed in the LCA software – eBalance – to facilitate development of CLCD. Shipped with CLCD, ELCD and Ecoinvent database, eBalance can be downloaded for trial.

Methodological guidelines for LCA of French agricultural products

Peter Koch1, Gérard Gaillard1, Hayo M.G. von der Werf2, Yannick Biard2, Claudine Basset-Mens3, Armelle Gac4, Afsaneh Lellahi5, Anne Paillier6

1Agroscope ART Reckenholz Tänikon, Switzerland; 2INRA, France; 3CIRAD. France; 4Institut d'Elevage, France; 5Arvalis, France; 6ADEME, France


The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) is implementing a French law aiming to introduce environmental labelling of consumer products by the end of 2012. The labelling scheme should be based on LCA principles, like considering multiple criteria and not only carbon footprint.

ADEME has therefore initiated the programme Agri-BALYSE to develop a public LCA-database of agricultural products in France (including a small panel of imported tropical products) by the end of 2012. Agri-BALYSE has two objectives:

  • to help the agricultural practitioners and the food industry analyse and reduce the environmental impacts of their production chains;
  • to supply LCA-data for the environmental labelling of food products.

Agri-BALYSE has identified over 130 inventories covering the most frequently consumed agricultural products in France, on a national level (e.g. “Wheat at farm, average France” or “ewe’s milk, conventional, average France”) as well for important production systems (e.g. “Sunflower, irrigated, at farm” or “Turkey, Label Rouge, Bretagne”). The programme is managed by a consortium consisting of three agricultural research institutes specialised in the environmental analysis of farming systems (INRA, ART, CIRAD) and ten technical institutes for applied agricultural research .


The implementation of a LCA database for agricultural products faces several specific challenges:

  • Farming systems encompass a wide range of production systems and natural conditions (soil, water availability, climate), which vary yearly.
  • Agriculture is in general a multiproduct system, especially in arable farming, where crop rotations may have a major influence on the environmental performance of the analysed product.

These issues highlight the need for consistent and carefully coordinated guidelines in order to grant consistency over all products considered.


A comprehensive report for practitioners (“data collection guide”) was produced by the partners of Agri-BAYLSE covering methodological questions on system boundaries (process related as well as temporal), modelling (e.g. of perennial products), allocation (e.g. allocation of impacts due to crop rotations), and data quality. Structured recommendations were made regarding data origin to face different possible situations of data availability.

Simultaneously, a data collection tool was elaborated to permit a harmonised data collection across all different products and to ensure a perfect agreement with the methodological guidelines.


The foundation of this database ensuring the consistency and quality of the inventories is a comprehensive methodological guideline summarized in the “data collection guide”. Given the dimension of the Agri-BALYSE database, the guideline may become a national standard for LCA of agricultural products in France.

Interacting with the ILCD data network from an LCA software - the example of openLCA

Andreas Ciroth1, Srocka Michael1, Düpmeier Clemens2, Kusche Oliver2, Schebek Liselotte2

1GreenDeltaTC, Germany; 2Karlsruhe Institut für Technologie, Germany

The International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) was launched with the aim to provide a network of consistent and quality-assured LCI data sets and databases; meanwhile, the European ELCD database and other LCA database systems in different countries worldwide have joined the network.

We show how data in the network can be accessed from an LCA software, and how data generated by users of the software can in turn be uploaded into databases of the network.

We demonstrate this for a database that has been developed in the course of a German research project BioEnergieDat, and with openLCA as LCA software. The link between openLCA and the database was also created in the said project.

Our demonstration will use a practical case for bioenergy from the BioEnergieDat project; it will highlight if and how the "bundle" of LCA database and software can be used for exchanging data along the supply chain, providing sufficient information to the addressee of the data, while respecting sensitivity concerns of the industrial or academic data supplier.

Designers' requirements of lifecycle sustainability management tools

Jamie O'Hare

Granta Design, United Kingdom

Companies are facing increasing pressures from a variety of sources to improve the environmental performance of their products. In response to this, a large number of academic and commercial organisations have developed tools to support life cycle sustainability management activities such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), eco-design and environmental-regulation compliance. These tools have generally been developed for use by expert users, but as environmental sustainability is fast becoming a mainstream activity, there is a need to develop a new generation of tools that can be used by designers and engineers, who generally do not have expertise in environmental sustainability issues. The purpose of this paper is to consider the requirements that designers and engineers tasked with addressing environmental sustainability issues will have for life cycle sustainability management (LCSM) tools and what approaches may meet these requirements.

The paper begins by looking at who within an organisation is involved in LCSM. To date, responsibility for these issues has generally been held within a centralised team of experts. The advantages and disadvantages of this model are briefly discussed. It is noted that, for this type of organisational structure with a small number of environmental experts, complex tools such as LCA software provide a powerful solution to the challenge of understanding of the environmental performance of a product.

However, the pressures companies are facing in terms of environmental sustainability are changing. Legislation such as the RoHS, REACH and ErP Directives mean that environmental sustainability issues must now be addressed in every stage of every new design project. For many companies these new pressures will require a new approach to LCSM. Specifically, the increased scale and frequency of issues arising will mean that environmental sustainability can no longer be dealt with by one centralised team. Instead responsibility for these issues and challenges must be assigned to the people who have the most control and influence over them: engineers and designers.

The main focus of the paper will be a discussion of the requirements that engineers and designers tasked with addressing environmental sustainability issues will have for LCSM tools. This discussion will be based on a review of academic literature as well as insights from the author's experience in this area. The results presented in this paper will be a summary of these requirements along with suggestions for how these requirements might be met by a new generation of LCSM tools.