Starting Life Cycling

Disseminating Life Cycle (LC) Approaches is one of the main issues of the Life Cycle Initiative. As a result, several capacity building efforts are already in progress, mainly focusing in Life Cycle Management and Life Cycle Assessment.

What is Life Cycle Management?

Life Cycle Management (LCM) is an integrated concept for managing the total life cycle of goods and services towards more sustainable production and consumption.

LCM uses various procedural and analytical tools taken from the Product Sustainability Toolbox for different applications and integrates economic, social and environmental aspects into an institutional context.

LCM is applicable for industrial and other organisations demanding a system-oriented platform for implementation of a preventive and sustainability driven management approach for product and service systems.

LCM may serve as guiding principle for product oriented policy making and general policy frameworks such as Integrated Product Policy (IPP) and Extended Product Responsibility (EPR).

Product Sustainability Toolbox



Environmental Material, Process and Product Comparison

EMS, Integrated Management Systems, GAP and SWOT Analysis

Investment Decision Support for Strategic Planning

SD Assessment

Marketing, Customer and Regulatory

Supply Chain Management.

Compliance Dialogue

Energy and Substance Flow Analysis, Assessment and Dissemination

Weak Point Analysis for environmental and economic improvements

LCI andLCIA Databases

Product and Services Benchmarking

Life Cycle Costing/Process Cost, Total Cost of Ownership, Value Creation Assessment


Simulation of Material and


Energy Flows.



For more information on Life Cycle Management read the following publication:

The publication is available to read in HTML. "An introduction to Life-Cycle Thinking and Management". Environmental News No.68. Published by Danish Environmental Protection Agency in 2003.

This booklet descibes how enterprises can begin developing cleaner products based on a life-cycle perspective. It focuses on a simple approach to preventive environmental initiatives.

The Initiative has a programme named Life Cycle Management Programme (LCM) that deals with Life Cycle Managment itself.

What is Life Cycle Assessment?

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool for the systematic evaluation of the environmental aspects of a product or service system through all stages of its life cycle. LCA provides an adequate instrument for environmental decision support. Reliable LCA performance is crucial to achieve a life-cycle economy. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), a world-wide federation of national standards bodies, has standardised this framework within the series ISO 14040 on LCA.

The Phases of Life Cycle Assessment

1. Goal and Scope Definition, the product(s) or service(s) to be assessed are defined, a functional basis for comparison is chosen and the required level of detail is defined;

2. Inventory Analysis of extractions and emissions, the energy and raw materials used, and emissions to the atmosphere, water and land, are quantified for each process, then combined in the process flow chart and related to the functional basis;

3. Impact Assessment, the effects of the resource use and emissions generated are grouped and quantified into a limited number of impact categories which may then be weighted for importance;

4. Interpretation, the results are reported in the most informative way possible and the need and opportunities to reduce the impact of the product(s) or service(s) on the environment are systematically evaluated.

More information

LCA 101

Published by U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency and Science Applications International.

The document provides an introductory overview of Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA). The uses of and major components of LCA are discussed: how to conduct an LCA, or how to manage someone conducting an LCA.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) - A guide to approaches, experiences and information sources

Environmental issue report No 6. Published by EEA (European Environment Agency) in 1999.
This guide, together with the meta-database containing information sources, is a simple and practical guide for businesses and industries.
The text describes the ground-rules for credible LCAs, explains the meaning of, looks at the issues of Management Systems and environmental strategies, as well as the impacts and outcomes of LCA. It also looks at the different standards, the LCA's boundaries and the means to carry out simplified LCAs.

Life Cycle Assessment Case Study of Paperboard Packaging in Thailand

This site has been created by the Asian Institute of Technology -School Environment, Resources and Development. The site shows in a dynamic way, how a product's environmental properties can be investigated through Life Cycle Assessment and shows how the results can be used in attempts to reduce the products overall impacts on the environment. A paperboard box produced, used, and disposed in Thailand has served as a model product and the paperboard box has been analysed in all steps from forestry through paper making to production, use, recycling and final disposal in landfills.

This is a brief list of literature that we would like to recommend for acquiring basic knowledge on Life Cycle Approaches. New links which you wish to place on this site can be sent to the Secretariat of the Life Cycle Initiative.

More information on Life Cycle Assessment.

Read also the Benefits of Life Cycle Approaches