Encyclopedia of Sustainability in Higher Education

2019 Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho

Possibilities and Limits of Life Cycle Assessment in Sustainability Reviews

  • Petra SchneiderEmail author
  • Andreas Meyer
  • Christoph Dobler
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11352-0_288


The contribution discusses the methodology of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) with its performance steps Life Cycle Inventory Assessment (LCIA), Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCI), as well as the Life Cycle interpretation and illustrates the practical application using the LCA for aluminum foil. Further, the contribution discusses the possibilities and limits of LCA in sustainability reviews. For this purpose, the method of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) was developed (Zamagni et al. Int J Life Cycle Assess 18:1637, 2013; Guinée, Life cycle sustainability assessment: what is it and what are its challenges? In: Clift R, Druckman A (eds) Taking stock of industrial ecology. Springer, Cham, 2016), where the life cycle approach is applied to all dimensions of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) in order to achieve more reliable and robust results. Even the conventional LCA methodology according to ISO 14040:2006 does not consider social aspects, it is a valuable tool to contribute to the assessment of the sustainability of value chains of products. Further, the differences between LCA and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are discussed. It is important to be noted, that LCA does not replace EIA, even it can contribute to an EIA. As such, LCA, EIA and LCSA must be part of teaching programs in higher education in order to create awareness of the environmental and sustainability assessment tools, as well as their possibilities and limits.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra Schneider
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Meyer
    • 1
  • Christoph Dobler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department Water, Environment, Civil Engineering and SafetyUniversity of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-StendalMagdeburgGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Madhavi Venkatesan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA