Education and courses for LCA

Your capacity building is our concern and we offer post-graduate education and courses on LCA. A number of standard course templates are available, but our courses will always be tailored to your specific needs.

The ever increasing concern over the sustainability of human activities underlines the need for constantly improving our quantitative sustainability assessment skills. We are engaged in frontier research and offer high-quality training, courses and post-graduate education in sustainability assessment using the highest scientific standards. Furthermore we are currently the main sponsor for the International Life Cycle Academy (ILCA) were you will find other sustainability and LCA-related courses.

Learning LCA in 3 days

This is our crash-course for newcomers to the life cycle world. In a combination of lectures, group-work and computer-exercises (involving your own products) we give you the most up-to-date tools to get started. This is equivalent to what the students learn in a semester at the leading universities.

Courses on demand

You determine when, where and content: You have the option to have a taylor made LCA course. This includes that you can choose topics to be covered, e.g.:

  • The basics of an LCA
  • General life cycle inventory
  • Consequential modelling
  • Indirect land-use change modelling
  • Life cycle costing
  • ecoinvent version 3
  • Social LCA
  • Hybrid LCA
  • Forecasting and scenario building
  • Life cycle impact assessment
  • Life cycle based cost-benefit assessment
  • Advanced features in SimaPro

You can also choose sector specific topics to be covered such as modelling of agricultural systems, waste management systems/recycling, energy systems, pulp and paper etc.

The price is 1000 EUR per person per day + transport and accommodation for the teacher. For a course with four or more participants, we pay for the teacher’s transport and accommodation.

We determine when and where: At irregular intervals we provide general training courses. Here we cover a selected number of the above topics. You are welcome to suggests when and where for the next course. The price is 500 EUR per person per day.

Example of a one-day introduction course:

Consequential LCA – myths and reality

An introduction to the methodology along with the knowledge to manage and communicate projects and interpret reports

  • General overview of the differences between attributional and consequential LCA
  • Early roots – The analysis of electricity networks
  • Early roots – Input-Output analysis
  • The origin of the terms attributional and consequential
  • ISO 14040/44 – A standard for consequential LCA
  • Application areas – Does attributional LCA have a role to play?
  • Consequential modelling – the theoretically most appropriate choice, but…?
  • The confusion of model with reality
  • Subjectivity and normative choices in modelling versus openness to scientific challenge and validation
  • Why are data requirements lower in a consequential model?
  • Why is consequential modelling less costly?
  • Precision and accuracy: Why are consequential model results less uncertain?
  • Rebound effects. Advantage or drawback? An example of including or ignoring uncertainty
  • The fallacy of simplicity: The real complexity of allocation
  • Substitution or system expansion?
  • Mass balance as a sanity check
  • Co-production according to the ILCD handbook
  • Communication problems in the short and long term: Counter-intuitive versus normative and artificial?
  • The difference between consequential LCA and general equilibrium modelling
  • Reproducibility: Unambiguity of the modelling algorithms
  • Defining the product and its functional unit – The market-based approach
  • Scale: Small changes with large effects
  • Time horizon: The confusion of short and long term marginal technologies
  • Linking activities in a supply chain (by identifying those that are affected and excluding the constrained suppliers)
  • Why can co-production always be modelled by substitution?

Example of a two-day hands-on course:

Consequential LCA – hands on
2-days course to provide participants with the knowledge to perform a consequential LCA study

1) General overview of the differences between attributional and consequential LCA, including some historical notes.
2) Defining the product and its functional unit – The market-based approach
3) Linking activities in a supply chain (by identifying those that are affected and excluding the constrained suppliers)
a) Scale and time horizon
b) Market delimitation
c) Market trends
d) Constrained markets
4) Co-production
a) Combined production
b) Joint production: What is the determining product?
c) Joint production: Is the dependent product fully utilised?
d) Comparison to allocation: Full preservation of mass and substance balances
e) Situations with two or more determining products
f) Speciality products
g) Substitution between unequal products

Doing your own LCA in 2 months

Learning by doing – including the above 3-days course as a starter – followed by your own data collection, with assistance from our consultants, a half-way session to share experiences and discuss and straighten out any problems, more homework with a hot-line to our consultants, and finally a 3-days session ending in the exam: presenting the results so even your CEO can understand it.

An example of such capacity building, with a special eco-design component, is our project with the Electrical and Electronics Institute of Thailand.

Workplace learning

Decisions that affect the environment are made at many different levels in a company, and environmental training should therefore not be reserved for the personnel with explicit responsibility for environmental issues.

Compared to external training, workplace training provides better opportunities for integrating direct experience and real life experimentation into the training situation. Furthermore, it becomes possible to embed the training results immediately in the work situation. Beside these pedagogical advantages, workplace training can more easily be adjusted to the pace of the individual employee and to the pace of the work situation, e.g. utilising periods of downtime. We assist in designing workplace curricula where training is systematically planned as part of the work processes.

An example is our environmental management module, offered as on-job training for groups of employees with different job functions in the same company or product chain features group exercises in which the employees play the same roles as in their normal job situation, and learn to understand their own role in the larger company and/or product chain context, as well as the roles, cultures, tools and languages of the other participants. The training is centred on the understanding that all actors share the same objective, in the form of the product output, but have different viewpoints, cultures and languages with which to address it. The group exercises engage the employees in assisting each other to improve their mutual performance, identifying bottlenecks, removing friction, and adjusting procedures to optimize the value chain of the product they have in common.

See also our page on employee participation and environmental training.