The European Commission's Integrated Product Policy Communication, since 2003, identified Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as the "best framework for assessing the potential environmental impacts of products". This Communication highlighted the necessity for a Platform on LCA to increase the availability of quality life-cycle data and methods. The EC, through its DG Environment and JRC, responded to these needs by establishing the European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment (EPLCA).
The EPLCA aims at supporting the use of LCA into business and policies. Specifically for policies, the EPLCA is supporting the use of LCA in line with the European Commission Better Regulation Toolbox - method (#64) - for the impact assessment of policies.
The EPLCA fosters LCA as an essential integrated environmental assessment in support to the EU policy making process and the ambition of Green Deal and many other policy initiatives, as the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Farm-to-Fork, the Biodiversity Strategy, the Chemical Strategy, and many more.
The EPLCA is articulated in several sections to respond to the different needs of scientists, business and policy makers for methods, data, studies and tools for quality LCA. For more information on the LCA methodology, read more here.
Key sections of the European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment
|The ELPCA is supporting the Environmental Footprint (EF) development building methods and data based on the ILCD format. Since April 2018, the Life cycle data network (LCDN) hosts Environmental Footprint (EF) compliant data, released from several providers, and also a dedicated node, with EF data on Representative Products stemming from the development of Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PECFRs) (link to the node )|
|The EPLCA implements the International Life Cycle Data system (ILCD), an initiative developed since 2005 aiming to provide guidance and standards for a consistent and quality application of the LCA. The ILCD includes a set of documents (named ILCD Handbook) which granted methodological developments concerning, in particular, the Life cycle inventory (LCI) and Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) phases.|
|Since 2014 the EPLCA includes the Life Cycle Data Network (LCDN), a tool capable to host ILCD formatted data from different data providers, compliant with ILCD or PEF/OEF schemes.|
|The EPLCA supports the EU Environmental Footprint (EF) for the development of data & tools.|
Since April 2018, the LCDN hosts EF compliant data, released from several providers, and also a dedicated node hosting EF data on the Representative Products developed for the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) (direct link )
The EPLCA publishes the reference EF data package releases (i.e. the reference objects to serve the development of the PEF / OEF), and several supporting tools (related to data validation, analysis and sharing).
|The EPLCA provides guidance on the application of LCA at different levels and for different sectors. Several LCA projects have been developed as (see here for details):|
- Consumption and Consumer footprint, to assess the environmental impact of EU consumption assessed either per areas of consumption (Consumer Footprint) or per country (Consumption Footprint).
- The Food System Analysis has been adopting the life cycle thinking to assess the sustainability of EU food system and to account for food waste, in support to EU Farm-to-Fork strategy
- The Plastic LCA, a comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Alternative Feedstock for Plastic Production
- The chemical footprint, in support to zero pollution ambitions, to assess potential impacts of chemicals along supply chains, with reference to ecotoxicity and human toxicity (cancer and non cancer)
|The EPLCA includes the Resource Directory, a repository of LCA studies, software, database developers, service providers and qualified reviewers relatively to the ILCD-based framework.|
|The JRC contributes to the activities of the Life Cycle Initiative (by the United Nation Environment Programme): |
GLAD Global LCA Data Access: aims at providing a global guidance and consensus building on a limited number of environmental life cycle impact category indicators developed within a consistent framework, and to identify the related research agenda.
GLAM Global Guidance on Environmental Life Cycle Impact Assessment Indicators: aims to enhance global consensus on environmental life cycle impact assessment indicators, generating tangible and practical recommendations for different environmental indicators and characterization factors used in Life Cycle Impact Assessments (LCIA).