This includes the ability to acquire industry-average data from multiple sites/companies and effective opportunities to close data gaps in an optimal tradeoff of precision and effort.Several approaches and methods to close data gaps are discussed in theory; however, practical engineering expertise and a meaningful exchange of information between industry, consulting, and science are fundamental.These aspects frame the discussions on LCA applications in business practice, bearing in mind that it is used not only for environmental improvement of products and processes but also for cost reduction, sustainable development strategies, risk management, defining competitive advantage and increasing (sustainable) revenue.If we understand LCA as a business imperative, we must be able to clearly present its success factors.LCA in practice must be time-efficient and investment costs and resource availability must be accounted for.Therefore, it is essential that data generation/acquisition and execution of LCA is efficient.In most companies and associations where it is applied today, LCA is no longer a purely “voluntary” or “freestyle” activity; rather, it is seen as a fundamental activity of the organization.It is recognized as the best available methodology to investigate environmental sustainability performance in a reliable and transparent way.
If at all, most LCA practitioners only consider using (single) score approaches when they have been able to see the range of impacts from the standard LCA approach.
The diverse group of authors is proactively working in the LCA field, in methodology development, data provision, data compiling, or product optimization and communication.
The authors' respective affiliations apply, assess, and support LCA; they use it as a decision support and communication tool in their organizations or along value and process chains and to discuss with stakeholders.
It is important that hot spots for product optimization can be identified along the entire value chain, based on a common understanding of the chain links.
Standardization of procedures is the key to ensure a common interpretation of results within the chain links.