LCA Malaysia

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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

LCA CONCEPT

According to ISO 14040, LCA is defined as the compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle. Thus, LCA is the tool that addresses the environmental aspects and potential environmental impacts throughout a product's life cycle from raw material acquisition through production, use, end-of-life treatment, recycling and final disposal.

Typical Life Cycle Inventory for a Manufactured Product

There are four phases in an LCA study:

  1. Goal and scope definition phase
  2. Inventory analysis phase
  3. Impact assessment phase, and
  4. Interpretation phase

4 phases of an LCA

After having set the goal and scope of the study, data on all the emissions and resources used for a product are reported in the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI). In the Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) phase, these emissions and resources are evaluated against a number of different impact categories (such as climate change , acidification , eutrophication , ozone depletion etc.). Finally, the interpretation phase shall discuss and summarise the LCIA results.

LCA is a comprehensive technique; considers all attributes and aspects in a cross-media perspective. Which includes the identification & assessment of potential trade-offs such as:

  • Natural Environment
  • Human health
  • Resources

LCA RELATED STANDARDS

  • ISO 14040:2006: Environmental Management-Life cycle assessment- Principles and framework
  • ISO 14044:2006: Environmental Management-Life cycle assessment- Requirements and Guidelines
  • ISO/TR 14047:2012: Environmental Management-Life cycle assessment- Illustrative examples on how to apply ISO 14044 to impact assessment situations
  • ISO/TS 14048:2002: Environmental Management-Life cycle assessment- Data documentation format

ISO 14044:2006, Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Requirements and guidelines, is designed for the preparation of, conduct of, and critical review of, life cycle inventory analysis. It also provides guidance on the impact assessment phase of LCA and on the interpretation of LCA results, as well as the nature and quality of the data collected.

ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006 replace the previous standards (ISO 14040:1997, ISO 14041:1999, ISO 14042:2000 and ISO 14043:2000). The new editions have been updated to improve the readability, while leaving the requirements and technical content unaffected, except for errors and inconsistencies.

LCA APPLICATIONS

Life cycle approach can be applied to:

  • Environmental improvement of product
  • Benchmarking and performance
  • Environmental reporting (e.g. Carbon Footprinting)
  • Environmental management strategy
  • Marketing (e.g. implementing an ecolabelling scheme or producing an environmental product declaration)

Various LCA applications

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