An LCA consists of four stages: Goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment and interpretation.
In the goal and scope definition stage, questions such as, “How should we use the results of the LCA?”, “What requirements should the assessment fulfill?” and “How many and which products should be part of the life cycle evaluation?” are answered. This is also the stage where we determine what the functional unit (the unit and degree of functionality to be analyzed) should be.
In the inventory analysis stage, all necessary data is gathered. This includes information such as material quantities and specifications, energy demands and information on packaging. The gathered information is then modeled using LCA databases and software.
The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) stage is the stage in which results are calculated.
Finally, results are analyzed in the interpretation stage. This is when we determine which material or which production step created the most environmental impact. A sensitivity analysis is used to test the robustness of the LCA and its assumptions.