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Spatial differentiation in LCA

Moving forward to more operational sustainability
: Sedlbauer, K.; Braune, A.; Humbert, S.; Margni, M.; Schuller, O.; Fischer, M.

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Technikfolgenabschätzung, Theorie und Praxis. Technology assessment 16 (2007), No.3, pp.24-31
ISSN: 0943-8246
ISSN: 1619-7623
ISSN: 2199-9201
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IBP ()

Life cycle assessment studies (LCA) according to ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 and using generic data (i.e. without regard for geographic variability in the life cycle inventory or life cycle impact assessment ) are well adapted to evaluate environmental impacts from a global perspective. For impact categories that are not global in nature such as acidification, eutrophication, or toxicity, the use of generic data can lead to results that do not reflect the impacts accordingly. Clearly, the need for spatial differentiation depends on the scope and boundaries of the study. However, when assessing LCIs from different regions, or when geographical conditions of the emission ocation are known, regionalization might increase the discriminating power of LCIA. Future research should be focused on developing guidelines identifying when spatial differentiation is relevant, what type of differentiation is needed, and on generating and linking compatible LCI and LCIA that are both geographically specific to continents (for political reasons this is more accepted) and situation dependent to better reflect local variations.