UNEP Life Cycle Initiative

UNEP Life Cycle Initiative


Life cycel initiative logoUNEP LogoGlobal Guidance for Life Cycle Impact Assessment Indicators and Methods (GLAM)

In 2013, the Life Cycle Initiative launched this project to enhance global consensus on environmental life cycle impact assessment indicators. The project aims to generate tangible and practical recommendations for different environmental indicators and characterization factors used in Life Cycle Impact Assessments (LCIA).

This is done in cooperation with an international expert task force who prepares recommendations on the individual topic areas. The different project phases provide guidance on a distinct set of indicators:

Phase 1

2013-2016. Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts, health impacts of fine particulate matter, water use related impacts and human health impacts, land use related impacts on biodiversity, and cross-cutting issues.

Professor Francesco Cherubini co-chaired the Global Warming Task Force.

This task force looked at improved methods to characterize climate change impacts in Life-Cycle Assessment. The work started from the methods and metrics included in the latest IPCC assessment report (WG I), and includes guidelines on what metrics to use for a specific climate goal, how to assess contributions from near-term climate forcers, feedbacks, and their uncertainties. Results are available in a final report and scientific article. 

Phase 2 

2017-2019. Acidification and eutrophication, human toxicity, natural resources, land use impacts on soil quality, ecotoxicity, and cross-cutting issues.

Phase 3 (ongoing)

GLAM is now focusing on establishing a comprehensive, consistent and global LCIA method to assess the life cycle impacts of products and services on Human health, Ecosystem quality, Natural resources and ecosystem services, and normalization weighting and LCIA-LCIA linkage and implementation. 

Professor Francesca Verones chairs Ecosystem Quality Task Force

This task force will look at measuring disappeared fractions of species accounting for species vulnerability. Specifically, the work will focus on harmonizing previous GLAM recommendations for land use, ecotoxicity, eutrophication and developing new factors for climate change, water consumption, marine plastic pollution, biomass removal by fisheries.