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Life cycle assessment research and application in Indonesia

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This paper presents a review of the research and application of life cycle assessment (LCA) in Indonesia over the last 20 years and analyzes challenges and opportunities for future development.


The study assessed 107 peer-reviewed scientific publications on LCA about Indonesia or written by authors affiliated with institutions in Indonesia. Relevant programs and recommendations to advance LCA adoption were elaborated.

Results and discussion

The first paper on the subject of LCA appeared as early as in 1996, while the number of publication significantly increased since 2010. The majority of these articles came from universities, research institutions, and international organizations. Drivers were mainly related to product competitiveness aiming to fulfill sustainability requirements of the global commodities market. Government policies also played an essential role in many aspects, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable consumption and production, green public procurement, eco-labeling, and green industry. Simultaneously, life cycle thinking has been embraced by governments and industries, especially with an immediate increase in the number of organizations implementing the recent version of ISO 14001. Increased participation in voluntary sustainability reporting also provides evidence of the prevalence of the sustainability concept. We believe that this development can serve as an essential step toward the spread of LCA studies in the future. Furthermore, the recent adoption of ISO 14040/44 as national standards in 2016/2017 also marked the commitment of Indonesian governments in LCA and is expected to stimulate the adoption of LCA-based environmental labels, such as carbon footprint, environmental product declaration, and product environmental footprint.


The research and application of LCA in Indonesia are still in its infancy, as partly proved by a relatively small number of publications as compared to some other Southeast Asian countries. However, there was a notable increase in publication over the last 5 years, indicating a growing interest in LCA, mainly from academics and to less extent from private sectors. Although LCA has not been explicitly formulated in the national strategies and legislation, Indonesian governments do require life cycle thinking to inform policy-making. Nevertheless, the lack of incentives for green products, LCA programs, LCA expertise, and localized inventory data hampers its implementation. In the future, improvement should focus on LCA capacity building, the establishment of a forum to communicate LCA studies and resources, development of national life cycle inventory databases, and provision of market incentives for green products.

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We would like to thank Noer Adi Wardoyo and Harimurti from the Center for Environment and Forestry Standardization (MoEF) for fruitful discussion. Appreciation is given to the Research Center for Chemistry—Indonesian Institute of Sciences (PPKimia-LIPI) for supporting EIW to carry out this study and to the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) Leiden University for providing EIW access to the online library.

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Correspondence to Edi Iswanto Wiloso.

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Responsible editor: Mary Ann Curran

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Wiloso, E.I., Nazir, N., Hanafi, J. et al. Life cycle assessment research and application in Indonesia. Int J Life Cycle Assess 24, 386–396 (2019).

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