LCAs are used for informing business strategies, research and development, design, labelling and product declarations. The report includes an analysis of the energy costs, and attempts to come to a conclusion by weighting the various impacts by various categories, such as human toxicity, smog, global warming, eutrophication.
Life Cycle Impact Assessment
The Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) is the third phase of four in a formal LCA.
The LCIA allocates the results of the LCI (Life Cycle Inventory) to a number of different impact categories. These include: climate change, eutrophication, human toxicity, acidification, ozone depletion, ecotoxicity, ionising radiation, photochemical ozone formation, landuse, water depletion, and resource depletion.
This phase includes (usually implicit) an evaluation of the emissions, usually allocated to an impact category. A process of normalisation can be used to adjust the importance of the impacts, relative to, for example, the number of inhabitants of the affected area. This last step makes the presentation of the results simpler and more meaningful in context.
In order to answer the question of how great the impact on the environment resulting from this product or service is, the impact assessment of the results of the inventory are grouped by scientific criteria into different impact categories.
The major impact categories are: global warming, ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical ozone creation, abiotic depletion potential (Abiotic Depletion Factor, ADF) for non-fossil and fossil resources.
The modelling can be based on a selection of so-called mid-points (impact categories), or end-points, such as human health, protection of natural resources, and ecosystem quality. These end-points can be weighted to provide a means of aggregating the impacts of different types.
The ecological scarcity method is used in this capacity for a "difference to tolerance" calculation.
'Significant environmental aspect’ means an environmental aspect that has or can have a significant environmental impact.
Significant environmental aspect
Direct environmental aspect
‘Direct environmental aspect’ means an environmental aspect associated with activities, products and services of the organisation itself over which it has direct management control.
Indirect environmental aspect
‘Indirect environmental aspect’ means an environmental aspect which can result from the interaction of an organisation with third parties and which can to a reasonable degree be influenced by an organisation.