Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a comprehensive and standardised method of evaluating the environmental aspects and potential environmental impacts of products. The LCA approach can also be applied in evaluating the impact of technologies and processes. An LCA study covers the whole life cycle of products, from raw materials’ acquisition until end use, recycling, or disposal. New areas of application and research include life cycle costing (LCC), social life cycle assessment (S-LCA), and life cycle sustainability assessment.
LCA provides information to support decision-making in product and technology development projects. LCA-based information is applied in eco-labelling and production of environmental product declarations. An LCA approach can also be applied in evaluation of eco-efficiency, material- and energy-efficiency, and eco-design and life cycle design.
With over 20 years of experience, we apply LCA in research projects and customer work for several sectors of industry. VTT’s researchers participate actively in the development of LCA methodology and tools in Finland and internationally.
Solutions and tools
We work on and offer the following:
Life cycle assessment studies and critical reviews in accordance with the ISO
14040 and the ILCD Handbook
Carbon footprints and water footprints
EU environmental footprints
Environmental product declarations (EPDs) based on ISO 14025
Application of LCA methodology in product and technology development projects
Eco-design and life-cycle design
The LCA software SULCA
Training related to LCA and its applications
Each LCA study must be planned separately and involve large-scale information-gathering. Understanding the processes and products studied is important for evaluation of the correctness of the data used in the assessment and for interpreting the results. All products have some impact on the environment, but improving one part of the life cycle can cause deterioration in another. For ability to evaluate the sustainability of a product or technology, several indicators and extensive data collection are required.
Development of environmental impact categories related to land use and land-use change is among the current research and development activities in the field of LCA. Development of practical land-use indicators is especially relevant in the case of renewable raw materials. Other challenging issues currently being examined are inclusion of water demand and water depletion factors, and the research methods related to social-life-cycle assessment.
The following are among the benefits offered:
Detailed information about products’ environmental impact that covers the
whole life cycle
Evaluation of ‘hot spots’ and critical phases in the life cycle
A scientific base for environment-related communication to stakeholders,
customers, and consumers
Background documents for eco-labels (in line with ISO 14024) and environmental
product declarations (ISO 14025)
WS Bookwell: Ecocalculator
Alma Media: Environmental
impacts of print and online media
Sustainable alternative for semitrailer truck proven by LCA
AFORE EU-AFORE (-2013, Forest biorefineries)
EU-PROMINE (-2013 Mining and
EU-OEPI (-2012, ICT, Machines and
-FINLCA (-2011, LCA methodology)
TEKES-LEADER (-2010 Paper
Principal Scientist, Team Leader
+358 20 722 7480