Estimating the value of a life cycle assessment

Norris G A (2001)

Publication info

Pp. 157-162 in proceedings of 1st International conference on life cycle management – LCM2001, Copenhagen, 2001.08.26-29


What is a life cycle assessment worth? How much should one spend on an LCA, and what are the expected returns from undertaking one? The value of an LCA ought to be readily estimable by anyone proposing to fund an LCA, or by anyone seeking funds for undertaking an LCA. Assessing the value of a potential LCA as a function of its uncertainty and scope and the characteristics of the decision should be part of goal and scope definition. The present paper proposes and illustrates a framework for estimating the value of LCAs as a function of these and other parameters. We begin by describing two different perspectives for characterizing an LCA’s value: private and public. Next, we suggest which characteristics of the decision context and the LCA results are most influential in determining the value of the LCA. We then construct a basic model of the value of an LCA, which incorporates these characteristics as floating parameters, and use this model to draw some general and qualitative conclusions about how the value of an LCA depends on these characteristics. Finally we demonstrate application of the method and model to a case study.

Download PDF