A life cycle assessment as it sounds, is a way of looking at the impact of a products across their entire life span.
Stages in looks at are – Material Sourcing > Component manufacturing > Product final assembly > Product transport > Product use > End of Life. It also looks for key sustainable indicators. These are :- Low carbon design > Energy efficiency > Renewable electricity > Direct emissions abatement > carbon removal > Water stewardship > Zero waste to landfill > Mapping & engagement > Assessment > Innovation.
It uses the EU PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) which has been introduced to deliver a common European evaluation method to measure the environmental impact of each of the LCA stages, so covering the entire lifecycle of the product.
The criteria used by the EU PEF are – Climate change, total > Ozone depletion > Human toxicity, cancer > Human toxicity, non-cancer > Particulate matter > Ionising radiation, human health > Photochemical ozone formation, human health >Acidification >Eutrophication, terrestrial > Eutrophication, freshwater > Eutrophication, marine > Ecotoxicity, freshwater > Land use > Water use > Resource use, minerals & metals > Resource use, fossils.
This broad spectrum of analysis gives an incredibly accurate view of the impact and footprint of a product. it also has a clear picture of what a sustainable product should look like.