Has ISO 14040/44 failed its role as a standard for LCA?
Weidema B P (2014)
Journal of Industrial Ecology 18(3):324-326
The role of a standard is to provide uniform rules for a procedure, so as to minimize or eliminate unnecessary variation in its performance, typically with the aim of reducing costs. The basic standard for performing life cycle assessment (LCA) was published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as ISO 14040/41/42 in 1996 and reorganized, largely unchanged, into ISO 14040/44 in 2006.
In recent years, we have seen a proliferation of guidelines that interpret the basic ISO 14040/44 standards for LCA, either for a specific geography as, for example, the BPX 30-323 for France and the Product Environmental Footprint Guideline for the European Union, a specific sector with the so-called product category rules (PCRs) that seek to regulate the production and communication of LCA information for products within the product category, or a specific topic as in carbon or water footprints.