Do you need a screening LCA or a full, ISO-compliant LCA?

So, you have decided that doing a life cycle assessment (LCA) study would be a good next step for your company. And you've heard that there are different varieties of LCA out there, most importantly the screening LCA and the full, ISO-compliant LCA. But now what? Which LCA do you need? That depends on what you want to use it for and to whom you want to communicate your results.

Screening and ISO compliant LCA Consulting


As the name implies, the full or ISO-compliant LCA is more thorough, robust and in-depth. A screening LCA is less robust, but has the advantage that it can be done with less effort. Which should you choose? Read on for a short description of both types.


Screening LCA

A screening LCA is suitable for internal communication purposes, for business to business communication and for decision-making. It can help you identify ‘hotspots’ in your product life cycle, find relevant activities and easy improvement activities and let you know whether more in depth information is necessary. A screening LCA can take a matter of hours or days, depending on the complexity of the product.


ISO-compliant LCA

A full, ISO-compliant LCA is recommended if you want to communicate the results of your study to the general public, especially if you want to compare your company or products to others. The results of an ISO-compliant LCA should be reported according to the framework of the ISO 14040/44 standards. The return of an ISO-compliant LCA is greater, but so is the investment you would need: an ISO-compliant LCA demands more rigorous data collection, data quality evaluation, interpretation and reporting, and a third-party critical review.


First things first

Do you already know you will need an ISO-compliant LCA, because you want to be able to communicate directly to consumers? Then by all means do so. In all other cases, PRé recommends that you start with a screening LCA and then upgrade to an ISO-compliant LCA, if necessary. Doing a screening LCA first means that you get a fairly good idea of your environmental impacts, which may be enough to achieve the results you want without immediately investing further.


Get started with the LCA that best fits your needs, contact us!


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Sep 16-22 | SimaPro and LCA: Essentials
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Jori Coustillas
Jori Coustillas
Product Owner
'Steering in a meaningful direction'