E3S Web Conf.
Volume 349, 202210th International Conference on Life Cycle Management (LCM 2021)
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Sustainability and Impact Assessment|
|Published online||20 May 2022|
Six areas of methodological debate on attributional life cycle assessment
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 10044 Stockholm, Sweden
2 Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Environmental Sustainability Assessment and Circularity, 41 rue du Brill, L-4422 Belvaux, Luxembourg
3 Chalmers University of Technology, Division of Environmental Systems Analysis, 41296 Gothenburg, Sweden
4 Leiden University, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Box 9518, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
5 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Operations Analytics, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
6 IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Valhallavägen 81, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a general agreement in the LCA community that there are two types of LCAs: attributional and consequential. There have been numerous discussions about the pros and cons of the two approaches and on differences in methodology, in particular about methods that can be used in consequential LCA. There are, however, methodological aspects of attributional LCA and how it can be used that need further attention. This article discusses six areas of debate and potential misunderstandings concerning attributional LCA. These are: 1) LCA results of all the products in the world should add up to the total environmental impact of the world, sometimes referred to as the 100 % rule. 2) Attributional LCA is less relevant than consequential LCA. 3) System expansion, and/or substitution, cannot be used in attributional LCA. 4) Attributional LCA leads to more truncation errors than consequential LCA does. 5) There is a clear connection between the goal and questions of an LCA and the choice of attributional or consequential LCA. 6) There is a clear boundary between attributional and consequential LCA. In the article, these statements are discussed, and it is argued that they are either misunderstandings or sometimes incorrect.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2022
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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