Discussion Forum on Life Cycle Assessment

Mission and Organisation 

LCA practitioners working in industry, consulting companies and administration and LCA scientists. Each LCA forum is dedicated to a specific topic of immediate interest related to

  • experiences and challenges with LCA application in industry and administration
  • scientific questions in life cycle inventory and life cycle impact assessment metholodogy development
  • dissemination of new scientific findings and results of relevant LCA studies

The LCA Discussion Forum is a platform for the exchange between Internationally reknown speakers are invited according to the topic to present their work. Each forum offers an "open floor" session for short presentations. The LCA forum is dedicated to people interested in the field of LCA, working in Switzerland and abroad. Its content is defined by an advisory board.

New Downloads

DF 68:  LCA of key technologies for future electricity supply  (Presentations and video recordings available)

DF series 2018:  Flyer for DF in 2018

DF 67:  Tracking current and forecasting future land-use impacts of agricul­tural value chains  (Presentations and video recordings available)

DF 66:  LCA of Mobility solutions: approaches and findings  (Presentations and video recordings available)

Current Meeting

DF 68 — LCA of key technologies for future electricity supply 

Monday, 16 April 2018, ETH Zürich, Alumni Pavilion 

We cordially invite you to the 68th Discussion Forum on Life Cycle Assessment.
The official language of this event is English. 

In the recent past, many countries increased the share of renewable energy sources in the electricity mix substantially and will continue to do so in the future. Intermittingly producing technologies such as photovoltaic or wind power plants are a challenge for electric utilities and ask for new concepts regarding grid operation, dispatching and storage. This forum will cover the full range from life cycle assessments of specific components namely photovoltaic panels, geothermal power stations and battery storage facilities to promising concepts of system integration in electricity networks such as smart grids. 

Main focus will be on the future environmental performance of these key technologies, on the main environmental challenges faced and on the way how electric utilities will facilitate the energy turnaround to comply with the ambitious target of the Paris Agreement and the due phase out of nuclear power. This forum aims at facilitating discussions among different domain experts in view of creating new ideas.

This forum is targeted to technical experts in the electricity sector and LCA practitioners.


Future Meetings

Call for short presentations for DF 68 – DF 70:

You work on a topic relevant to one of the Discussion Fora in 2018 and wish to present your findings?

"Open floor" sessions for short presentations will be available in each forum. Please contact the LCA Discussion Forum secretariat – the sooner the better. 
For more information and to receive news on the LCA Discussion Forum, please contact: lcaforum (at) ethz.ch 

DF 69 — Regionalization in LCA: is it ready for mainstreaming? 

Thursday, 13 September 2018, ETH Zürich, Alumni Pavillon 

(The official language of this event is English.)

Regionalization in LCA has been a research topic over the last decade, but implementation in practice has still been limited. Since the last DF on regionalization in 2009, recent developments at all ends (underlying data availability, inventory, LCIA methods, software implementation) have made lots of progress.

The topic has gained special importance due to the fact that UNEP-SETAC recommends regionalised LCIA methods for water use and land use; moreover, the LC-IMPACT and IMPACT World+ methodologies provide regional characterization factors CFs (LC-IMPACT CFs are fully available, while IMPACT WORLD+ is still in beta mode). Furthermore, the vast amount of regionalized LCI data provided by science has been made available in products such as the World Food Life cycle inventory Database (WFLDB) and ecoinvent is constantly enhancing regional detail.

While regionalized assessment is an additional effort, it can be the low hanging fruit for improving LCA studies with limited efforts. This DF will include presentations on availability of regionalized LCI data, LCIA, software implementation and case studies show-casing application of regionalized LCA in practice. The forum allocates ample time for discussing different approaches and identifying the most important needs to bridge scientific advances and practical implementation. The attendees are invited to sketch possible ways forward with regard to regionalized LCA.

DF 70 — Social LCA – Challenges and solutions in application and implementation. 

Thursday, 22 November 2018, ETH Zürich, Alumni Pavillon 

(The official language of this event is English.)

Compared to environmental LCA, social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) is a young area with high potential for research and development. Besides new scientific findings and advances, e.g. regarding social life cycle inventories, impact assessment methods, assessment of positive impacts, databases etc., S-LCA has found its way into policy, industry and trade/ business.

The call for more socially acceptable products with reliable information on their social impacts is getting louder and cannot be ignored by governments and industry much longer. Especially in developing countries, the method is of high political interest. It is considered as a possibility to combat social inequality, unfair working conditions etc., and to promote more sustainable patterns of production and consumption. In developed countries, the claim for sustainable production, e.g. in the food sector, requires the consideration of social impacts in addition to the traditional environmental based LCA. Pioneer companies and organisations have already implemented specific approaches for the social LCA of their products.

The forum will cover both theoretical and practical approaches, presenting methodological progress and disseminating S-LCA applications. To begin with, the state-of-the-art of S-LCA and current research foci and progress will be outlined. The application of the method will be showcased by practical case studies for different economic sectors. Another block will expose concrete, individualized examples of the interpretation and implementation of S-LCA in businesses and policy. In this context, the challenges and obstacles actors along the value chains are facing are of special interest. The forum will offer ample time for fruitful discussions about the outlined and future steps.


Flyer 2018

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