A Life Cycle Assessment – or LCA – is a tool for estimating the environmental impact of a product, service, or process throughout its lifetime. Per the ISO, LCAs generally address a product’s life cycle including “raw material acquisition through [to] production, use, end-of-life treatment, recycling and final disposal”.
You input data and you get a score, and in doing so you can identify hotspots which need addressing and support better supply chain decisions. But the content and quality of that data can vary massively, so comparing one LCA to another isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. What’s more, as independent analyst for the sustainable apparel sector Veronica Bates Kassatly says, “If you put garbage in, you get garbage out.” Let’s delve into it.