What is life cycle assessment software (LCA)?
The concept of life cycle assessment (LCA) is to measure the environmental impact of your products or services, taking into account all stages of a product’s life cycle. It is a methodological framework that allows you to evaluate how your product design and activities affect the environment. Although life cycle assessment software has its roots in academia, it is currently used primarily in the consumer goods sector to measure carbon footprints, one of the main concerns of environmental sustainability.
With LCA software, you can create a complete analysis of the environmental footprint of your products in a very short time. LCA software provides you with the data that can facilitate your business decisions to develop more sustainable products or services.
The complex calculations associated with LCA can be done easily and accurately using LCA tools and platforms. Although LCAs are performed by highly skilled professionals, you can use LCA software to generate reports without having to hire additional dedicated LCA experts. Through the platform, you can access LCA assessments for your company at any time, including an overview of regulations and standards that affect your business.
Why is Life Cycle Assessment software (LCA) important?
Life cycle assessment software is becoming increasingly popular, especially in the consumer goods sector, as they help reduce environmental footprints while increasing profits by providing benefits such as efficiency, sustainable sourcing, better innovation cycles, and transparency.
- Efficiency: LCA software gives you access to automated, streamlined and digitized processes that help you make better use of your data and save time and effort on every task. The platform allows you to create reports and analyze data without having to bring in qualified professionals for additional costs.
- Awareness: The platform provides analytics on your social, environmental and economic impact. This allows you to determine which of your products or services have the least impact on factors such as climate change, human lives, or resource depletion. LCA software can also be used to determine which process of your production has the greatest impact. By being aware of these factors, you can make decisions that mitigate negative impacts.
- Integration and growth: Most LCA tools integrate with your existing IT landscape, making it easier to manage the data in your organization and grow with your needs by seamlessly adding more software systems.
- Innovation cycles: The platform allows you to capture risk, compliance, and sustainability data in advance to forecast the performance and impact of your products. If you know that a stage in your product’s lifecycle could have a high environmental impact, you can find innovative ways to update your product’s lifecycle stages early.
- Transparency: Using LCA software gives you the ability to design your product based on the transparency that today’s consumers demand from products. When you have all of your product’s lifecycle data – from raw material extraction to processing to end-of-life – and present that data to your customers, they gain insight into the impact they have on the environment when they buy your product. The lower the impact, the more your products and services will sell in the marketplace.
What are the most common features of LCA software?
LCA software has different features that serve different purposes. While not all LCA tools are the same, these tools are designed to help your business achieve its sustainability goals. LCA platforms offer several features including data management, collaboration tools, out-of-the-box LCA, a circular economy toolkit, automation tools, compliance tools, and academic tools.
- Data Management: LCA software enables you to capture relevant data, analyze data relationships and impacts, and present your report with the most accurate information for your stakeholders.
- Collaboration tools: LCA Researchers depend on tools that enable more efficient collaboration on LCA studies with centralized database management, quality assurance workflows, review capabilities, and user rights management.
- Out-of-the-Box LCA: The platform helps you create a life cycle assessment report in just a few steps with a user-friendly interface. Materials, processes and parameters are already included in the database.
- Circularity Kit: With LCA software, you can calculate your product’s Material Circularity Indicator (MCI) using modelling and reporting tools so that risks associated with material price fluctuations and material supply can be predicted and mitigated.
- Automation tools: Each LCA tool automates lifecycle analysis for broad product portfolios or complex products to save costs and labor resources. The platform leverages your unique BOM (Bill of Materials) import to generate lifecycle analysis at the touch of a button.
- Regulatory compliance: Lifecycle assessment solutions help you manage and ensure product compliance with a fully updated database of global regulations and standards for products and suppliers, improving your supply chain integration.
Who are the most frequent buyers of LCA software?
There are many types of LCA software on the market, serving different niches. Each platform offers different features that are useful for specific businesses. For example, LCA software, which focuses on enterprise-wide footprints, is used by companies in the construction, packaging, food, agriculture and chemical industries. Some tools from LCA provide product environmental footprint solutions that allow you to model your product and compare scenarios that ensure the product’s sustainability. These LCA platforms are generally suitable for almost all industries, including commercial and retail.
Some LCA tools are open source and free, so even start-up companies can track their environmental footprint without incurring high costs. There is the versatile software LCA, which is mainly used in academia and by experienced LCA consultants. On the other hand, you can also use LCA software as an internal tool to monitor your environmental impact.
The use of LCA platforms spans all sectors, with consultants, professionals, owners, and sustainability teams taking advantage of the wide range of features that can get the job done in their respective fields.
2023 list of the top 5 life cycle assessment software (LCA) solutions
For more software solutions that fit your needs, budget and location, see our dedicated life cycle assessment software directory.