H

Impact assessment

Interpretation

Direct applications:

- Product development and improvement

- Strategic planning

- Public policy making

- Marketing

- Other

Figure 2 Phases of an LCA. From international Standards Organization (2006) Environmental Management - LCA - Principles and Framework. ISO 14040. Geneva: ISO.

• evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with identified inputs and releases;

• interpreting the results to help decision makers make a more informed decision.

This ability to track and document shifts in environmental impacts can help decision makers and managers fully characterize the environmental tradeoffs associated with product or process alternatives. By performing an LCA, analysts can, for example:

• develop a systematic evaluation of the environmental consequences associated with a given product;

• analyze the environmental tradeoffs associated with one or more specific products/processes to help gain stakeholder (state, community, etc.) acceptance for a planned action;

• quantify environmental releases to air, water, and land in relation to each life-cycle stage and/or major contributing process;

• assist in identifying significant shifts in environmental impacts between life-cycle stages and environmental media;

• assess the human and ecological effects of material consumption and environmental releases to the local community, region, and world;

• compare the health and ecological impacts between two or more rival products/processes or identify the impacts of a specific product or process;

• identify impacts to one or more specific environmental areas of concern.

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