LCIA Recommended Indicators

    2017
    LCANZ Best Practice Working Group

    Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA)

    Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) translates resource use and emissions into potential environmental impacts. In doing so, it extends a Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) to consider the likely effects that a product or service may have on the natural environment.

    The table below provides a summary of LCIA indicators that should be considered for LCA studies conducted in New Zealand. The first seven indicators are those specified by European standard EN 15804 and are widely used in LCA and EPD studies worldwide. They can be used as a default core set of indicators, particularly within the construction industry. However, the choice of indicators for a specific study should always be defined as part of its goal and scope phase.

    While there is no maximum number of indicators that can be considered within a single study, it is important to consider a minimum of two (and preferably more) in order to minimise the potential for burden-shifting. If multiple indicators are used, LCANZ recommends that normalisation be applied and presented alongside the un-normalised results. Doing so will help the reader to understand the likely relevance of each indicator.

    Only midpoint indicators are included within the table. While endpoint indicators (e.g. human health impacts) are easier to apply in decision-making, they calculate potential impacts further down the cause-and-effect chain and are typically more uncertain and/or subjective. Where endpoint indicators are used in an LCA study, LCANZ recommends that both the midpoint and endpoint results be presented together.

    It is important to recognise that all indicators represent potential environmental impacts. While they provide information on drivers of downstream changes, what actually occurs within the environment depend on a range of local, regional and global factors.

    The table below primarily presents LCIA methods that are quite far up the cause-and-effect chain. LCA studies focused on local impacts should select different LCIA methods with local characterisation factors (wherever these are available). The table is also available in a PDF, at the top of this page.

    Each indicator is presented using a common unit (e.g. kg CO2 equivalent for global warming potential). This does not mean that only this flow is considered, but rather that all other relevant flows have been normalised to a single unit in order to understand likely environmental effects. 

    Summary of suggested LCIA-based midpoint indicators and calculation methods

    Indicator name and Info   Sheet link

    Abbreviation

    Key impact

    Spatial scope

    Area of protection

    Midpoint LCIA   calculation method*

    Units

    Global   warming potential (100 year)

    GWP100

    Climate change

    Global

    Human and ecosystem   health

    For EN 15804 EPDs

    IPCC (2013)

    kg CO2 eq.   (100 year)

    Stratospheric   ozone depletion potential

    ODP

    Depletion of the ozone   layer

    Global

    Human and ecosystem   health

    CML

    kg CFC-11 eq.

    Acidification   (land and water) potential

    AP

    Acid rain

    Local

    Ecosystem health

    CML

    kg SO2 eq.

    Eutrophication   potential

    EP

    Algal blooms

    Local

    Ecosystem health

    CML

    kg PO43-eq.

    Photochemical   ozone creation potential

    POCP

    Summer smog

    Local

    Human and ecosystem   health

    CML (high NOx)

    kg C2H4   eq.

    Abiotic depletion   potential – elements

    ADPE

    Mineral resource   depletion

    Global

    Natural resources

    CML

    kg Sb eq.

    Abiotic depletion   potential – fossil fuels

    ADPF

    Fossil resource depletion

    Global

    Natural resources

    CML

    MJ

    Particulate matter   formation potential

    PMFP

    Respiratory problems

    Local

    Human health

    RiskPoll

    kg PM2.5 eq.

    Water   scarcity footprint

    WSF

    Water shortages

    Local

    Natural resources

    AWARE or

    Water Stress Indicator

    TBC

    Toxicity potential –   human health (cancer)

    HTPC

    Health problems

    Local

    Human health

    USEtox 2.0

    CTUh

    Toxicity potential –   human health (non-cancer)

    HTPNC

    Health problems

    Local

    Human health

    USEtox 2.0

    CTUh

    Toxicity potential   –ecosystems 

    ETP

    Ecosystem damage

    Local

    Ecosystem health

    USEtox 2.0

    CTUeco

    Land   transformation potential

    LTP

    Land competition and   ecosystem damage

    All

    Natural resources and   ecosystem health

    Frischknecht and   Jungbluth (2007) or LANCA

    m2

    Ionising radiation   potential

    IRP

    Health problems

    Local

    Human health

    ReCiPe 1.08 Midpoint

    kg U-235 eq.

    * The methods given provide a placeholder until an information sheet is provided to confirm the method

    Methodology section

    Indicator name and Info   Sheet link

    Uncertainty in results   (relative)

    Consensus on choice of   method

    Relevance – NZ supply   chain

    Relevance – global supply   chain

     

    Low = +ve

    High = +ve

    High = +ve

    High = +ve

    Global   warming potential (100 year)

    Low

    High

    High

    High

    Stratospheric   ozone depletion potential

    Low

    High

    Low1

    Low

    Acidification   (land and water) potential

    Moderate

    Moderate

    Low

    High

    Eutrophication   potential

    Moderate

    Moderate

    High

    High

    Photochemical   ozone creation potential

    Moderate

    Moderate

    Low

    High

    Abiotic depletion   potential – elements

    Moderate

    Moderate

    Moderate

    Moderate

    Abiotic depletion   potential – fossil fuels

    Low

    High

    Moderate

    High

    Particulate matter   formation potential

    Low

    High

    High

    High

    Water   scarcity footprint

    TBC

    TBC

    TBC

    TBC

    Toxicity potential –   human health (cancer)

    High

    High

    Moderate

    High

    Toxicity potential –   human health (non-cancer)

    High

    High

    Moderate

    High

    Toxicity potential   –ecosystems 

    High

    High

    High

    High

    Land   transformation potential

    Moderate

    Moderate

    High

    High

    Ionising radiation   potential

    Moderate

    Moderate

    Low

    Moderate

    * The methods given provide a placeholder until an information sheet is provided to confirm the method

     

    References

    CML-IA is a database that contains characterisation factors for life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/research/research-output/science/cml-ia-characterisation-factors

    The database contains the characterisation factors for all baseline characterisation methods mentioned in the Handbook on LCA, Guinée, J.B., Gorrée, M., Heijungs, R., Huppes, G., Kleij,n R., van Oers, L., Wegener Sleeswijk, A., Suh, S., Udo de Haes, H.A., de Bruijn, H., van Duin, R. & Huijbregts, M.A.J. (2002). Life Cycle Assessment: An operational guide to the ISO standards, Volume 1, 2 and 3. Centre of Environmental Science Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

    Indicator name Reference
    GWP100

    Forster P,   Ramaswamy V, Artaxo P, Berntsen T, Betts R, Fahey DW, Haywood J, Lean J, Lowe   DC, Myhre G, Nganga J, Prinn R, Raga G, Schulz M and Van Dorland R (2007).   Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing; Climate Change   2007: The Physical Science Basis –Contribution of Working Group I to the   Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC click here to view  

    IPCC (2013).   Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working   Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on   Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen,   J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge   University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp.IPCC   AR5 click here to view  

    ODP World   Meteorological Organization, Scientific (WMO) (1999). Assessment of Ozone   Depletion, 1998, Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project - Report No.   44, ISBN 92-807-1722-7, Geneva.World   Meteorological Organization, 2010. Scientific Assessment of ozone Depletion:   2010. click here to view
    AP and EP Huijbregts, M.   (1999). Life cycle Impact assessment of acidifying and eutrophying air   pollutants. Calculation of equivalency factors with RAINS-LCA. Interfaculty   Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Environmental Science,   University of Amsterdam. click here to view  
    POCP

    Jenkin ME and   Hayman GD (1999). Photochemical ozone creation potentials for oxygenated volatile   organic compounds: sensitivity to variations in   kinetic and mechanistic parameters.   Atmospheric Environment 33(8), pgs1275-1293 click here to view and

    Derwent RG,   Jenkin ME, Saunders SM & Pilling MJ (1998). Photochemical ozone creation   potentials for organic compounds in Northwest Europe calculated with a master   chemical mechanism; Atmospheric Environment, 32. Pgs 2429-2441 click here to view 

    ADPE and ADPF Guinee et al., 2002 click here to view  
    PMFP Rabl   A     &   Spadaro   JV (2004). The   RiskPoll     software, version 1.051 (dated 19 Feb 2016) click here to view and click here to view  
    WSF

    AWARE (part of   WULCA) click here to view  or

    Water Stress   Indicator. Brown, A., Matlock, M. D., 2011. A Review of Water Scarcity   Indices and Methodologies. White Paper # 106. Prepared for the Sustainability   Consortium. click here to view  

    HTPC, HTPNC and ETP

    Fantke, P.E.,   Huijbregts, M.A.J., Margni, M., Hauschild, M.Z., Jolliet, O., Mckone, T.E.,   Rosenbaum, R.K., Van De Meent, D. (2015). USEtox 2.0 User Manual (Version 2). click here to view.

    Rosenbaum, R.   K., Bachmann, T. M., Swirsky Gold, L., Huijbregts, M., Jolliet, O., Juraske,   R., . . . Hauschild, M. Z. (2008). USEtox—the UNEP-SETAC toxicity model:   recommended characterisation factors for human toxicity and freshwater   ecotoxicity in life cycle impact assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess, 13(7),   532–546. click here to view  

    LTP

    Frischknecht,   R., & Jungbluth, N. (2007). Ecoinvent: overview and methodology.   Dübendorf: Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories. click here to view    or 

    Bos, U., Horn, R., Beck, T., Lindner, J.,   Fischer, M., Fraunhofer IBP (2016). LANCA: Characterization Factors for Life   Cycle Impact Assessment, Version 2.0, Stuttgart ISBN 978-3-8396-0953-8 

    IRP

    Frischknecht,   R., Braunschweig, A., Hofstetter, P. & Suter, P. (2000). Modelling human   health effects of radioactive releases in life cycle impact assessment.   Environ Impact Assess Rev 20, 159‐189. click here to view   

    Huijbregts,   M., 2016. ReCiPe2016: a harmonised life cycle impact assessment method at   midpoint and endpoint level - click here to view   

    Justifications

    1 Required under EN 15804 but, almost all ozone depleting substances of relevance have been banned under the Montreal Protocol for many years and are completely phased out. 

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