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LCA part3

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2001
1.2.3.6 Reporting of LCA
Reporting an LCA is an important issue. Because the methods for LCA are manifold, databases often
give conflicting figures, and many choices must be made in the course of completing an LCA, the
results are highly dependent upon the exact details regarding methods, data and choices. The reporting
of an LCA therefore implies far more than reporting the results of the LCA. It also embraces reporting the
methods used, the data used, the choices made, the procedural context in which the LCA was
produced and the exact question and purpose of the LCA.
In the guidelines that accompany the operational steps implemented in this Guide, reporting guidelines
will be given separately for each step. Equally important, however, is that the person or persons
reporting an LCA develop an awareness of certain basic principles of LCA reporting. ISO 14040 (1997E)
clause 6 reads as follows concerning the topic of reporting requirements (see textbox):
Lindfors et al. (1995a) and the SETAC-Europe Working Group on Case studies (Meier et al., 1997) give
additional material for basic and specific guidelines for reporting. As general principles, we propose the
following guidelines:
- The results of the LCA shall be fairly and accurately reported to the intended audience. The type and
format of the report shall be defined in the scope phase of the study.
The results of the LCA shall be fairly and accurately reported to the intended audience. The type and format
of the report shall be defined in the scope phase of the study.
The result, data, methods, assumptions and limitation shall be transparent and presented in sufficient
detail to allow the reader to comprehend the complexities and trade-offs inherent in the LCA study. The
report shall also allow the results and Interpretation to be used in a manner consistent with the goals of the
study.
When the results of the LCA are to be communicated to any third party, i.e. interested party other than
commissioner or practitioner of the study, regardless of the form of communication, a third-party report
shall be prepared. This report constitutes a reference document, and shall be made available to any third
party to whom the communication is made.
The third-party report shall cover the following aspects:
a) general aspects:
1) LCA commissioner, practitioner of LCA (internal or external);
2) sate of report;
3) statement that the study has been conducted according to the requirements of this
International Standard.
b) definition of goal and scope;
c) life cycle Inventory analysis: data collection and calculation procedures;
d) life cycle Impact assessment: the methodology and results of the Impact assessment that was
performed;
e) life cycle Interpretation:
1) the results;
2) assumptions and limitations associated with the Interpretation of results, both
methodology and data related;
3) data quality assessment.
f) critical review:
1) name and affiliation of reviewers;
2) critical review reports;
3) responses to recommendations.
For comparative assertions, the following issues shall also be addressed by the report:
- analysis of material flows to justify their inclusion or exclusion;
- assessment of the precision, completeness and representativeness of data used;
- description of the equivalence of the systems being compared in accordance with 5.1.2.4;
- description of the critical review process.
Source: ISO 14040, 1997.
Part 3: Scientific background 33 May 2001
- The result, data, methods, assumptions and limitation shall be transparent and presented in
sufficient detail to allow the reader to comprehend the complexities and trade-offs inherent in the
LCA study. The report shall also allow the results and Interpretation to be used in a manner
consistent with the goals of the study.
- When the results of the LCA are to be communicated to any third party, i.e. interested party other
than the commissioner or practitioner of the study or to the expert reviewer, regardless of the form of
communication, a third-party report shall be prepared. This report constitutes a reference document,
and shall be made available to any third party.
- A third-party Goal and scope report and a third-party Final report are mandatory for detailed LCA.
For simplified LCA, only a Final report is mandatory; it is recommended that this Final report also
conforms to the guidelines for third-party reports given below.
- The terminology used in the report shall be consistent with the ISO 14040 series. Other terms used
shall be detailed and defined and used consistently throughout the study.
- If, in principle, the LCA study undertaken conforms to the guidelines given in this document, any
deviations from the guidelines provided shall be specifically documented and justified fairly and
transparently.
- For each LCA phase and step, all assumptions and value judgements shall be clearly detailed,
along with the justification for these assumptions.
Since in this report some steps are named and sequenced a little differently from the ISO standards
(see Chapter 1), the ISO reporting issues have not been adopted unaltered. All the ISO issues are
covered, however, in the reporting guidelines given above. Furthermore, where possible and useful the
ISO guidelines have been made more explicit, based on the guidelines provided by Lindfors et al.
(1995a) and Meier et al. (1997).
A distinction is made here between reports and reporting issues. Two main reports are distinguished:
the Goal and scope report and the Final report. There is a relation between reports and issues to be
reported, of course. For example, if it is decided to also draft an Inventory and/or Impact assessment
report, all issues should be reported concerning that phase and the preceding phases.
For a Goal and scope report, however, a different list of reporting issues holds. The reason for this is that
in the Goal and scope phase of a study, the study results are not yet available and so cannot be
discussed, evaluated, etc. In contrast, the initial choices and assumptions proposed can be reported
and discussed at an early stage of the study with the commissioner and third parties, i.e. interested
parties and/or expert reviewer. A Goal and scope report is particularly recommended for detailed LCA
studies, since one main characteristic of detailed LCA studies is that some kind of critical review is
made for which a third-party report is necessary and in which case it is useful to discuss the main
choices and assumptions at an early stage of the study. By allowing comments at an early stage, the
LCA study may get off to a more efficient and smoother start.
The resulting Goal and scope report may be used as the basis for the Final report. Of course,
modifications made to the former report during the course of the study should be duly documented and
justified. When a full description of all methodological issues is provided in the Goal and scope report,
consideration may be given to reporting only the results in the chapter of the Final report on Inventory
analysis, Impact assessment and Interpretation.
In the Goal and scope report the practitioner can justify the choices and assumptions made for each
step by basically referring to the Guidelines given in this report or explaining why and how (s)he has
deviated from these Guidelines. Thus, the goal and scope report can be a short report referring to the
Guidelines as defined in this Guide, or a more extensive report explaining why and how other choices
and assumptions (including extensions) have been made. On the one hand, extensions can be made to
the detailed Guidelines. On the other hand, even the Guidelines for simplified LCA can be further
simplified. However, it should then be clearly documented if and how these further simplifications are to
be justified in relation to the goal of the study.
For simplified LCA we recommend not writing a specific report as part of the Goal and Scope definition
phase. In a simplified LCA only a Final report should be