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The Life Cycle Initiative

International Life Cycle Partnership for a sustainable world

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) launched an International Life Cycle Partnership, known as the Life Cycle Initiative, to enable users around the world to put life cycle thinking into effective practice.

The Initiative responds the call by Governments around the world for a Life Cycle economy in the Malmo Declaration (2000). It contributes to the 10-Year Framework of Programmes to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, as requested at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002).

The added value of the Initiative includes:

  • The ability to access and mobilize an established and growing global network of over 2000 interested members who have been and continue to be interested in understanding and advancing Life Cycle approaches worldwide. These experts represent industry, Government, academics and the service sectors and are the leaders in developing and applying Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Management (LCM) worldwide.
  • The ability to gather and manage examples of best practices and Life Cycle achievements across the world
  • The status of being considered as one stop shop for Life Cycle approaches.
  • The opportunity to connect science and decision making in policy and business with the supply and demand side of Life Cycle approaches. Therefore, and opportunity exists to become the global authority for consensus building and peer review on methodological questions and environmental assessments of natural resources, materials and products in the field of science.

About the Life Cycle Initiative Logo


The main mission of the Life Cycle Initiative is to bring science-based Life Cycle approaches into practice worldwide.


The objectives of the Life Cycle Initiative are to:
  • Enhance the global consensus and relevance of existing and emerging Life Cycle approaches methodology;
  • Facilitate the use of Life Cycle approaches worldwide by encouraging Life Cycle thinking in decision-making in business, government and the general public about natural resources, materials and products targeted at consumption clusters;
  • Expand capability worldwide to apply and improve Life Cycle Approaches.

Board and its Structure

The structural organization of the Life Cycle Initiative is composed of the
International Life Cycle Board (ILCB), the Secretariat, the Work Areas and the Project Groups.

International Life Cycle Board

The leading Institution of the Life Cycle Initiative with direct responsibility to
UNEP and SETAC for scientific aspects and application issues is the International Life Cycle Board (ILCB).
ILCB has the task to guide the Direction of Programmes in its work.


The ILCB is assisted by the Secretariat situated at UNEP DTIE in Paris that plans, oversees and manages all activities related to the general organization of the Life Cycle Initiative.

In order to achieve the aims, The Life Cycle Initiative launched in Phase 1 (2002 to 2006) three programmes in 2002: Life Cycle Management (LCM) programme, Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) programme and Lfie Cycle Impact  Assessment (LCIA) programme and Cross-Cutting Activities.
In Phase 2 ( 2007 to 2012) The Life Cycle Initiative sets up five Work Areas: Life Cycle Approaches Methodologies and Data, Life Cycle Approaches for Resources and Impacts, Life Cycle Management in Businesses and Industries, Life Cycle Approaches for Consumption Clusters and Life Cycle Approaches for Capability Development.

To facilitate the incorporation of Life Cycle Thinking and the social, economical and environmental aspects of sustainability into management:

  • Integration of various existing tools and concepts for decision-making on more sustainable products and services in a Life Cycle Management framework;
  • Guidance for benchmarking in business practice;
  • Training modules for SMEs and developing countries;
  • Strategies for communication of life cycle information to relevant stakeholders;

To establish Life Cycle based practices the following deliverables have been identified:

  • Information system for easy access to peer reviewed Life Cycle Inventory databases;
  • Recommended available Life Cycle Impact Assessment methods, models and factors;
  • Manuals for simplified tools and practical applications.

Know more about The Life Cycle Initiative by reading:

Check also the Benefits of life cycle approaches !

Phase 1 of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative (2002-2006)
Four areas of work were set up during Phase 1:

Phase 2 of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative

Phase 2 started in 2007 and goes on until 2012. Please click here to know more about the current areas of work of Phase II