Life Cycle Assessment impact categories acmc_logo

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is governed by ISO 14040 [1] and ISO 14044 [2].  The international standards outline the required processes but do not specify the systems used for the analysis.  ISO/TR14047 [3] suggests eight environmental burdens should be considered and BS8905 [4] adds land use to that list.  Table 1 indicates the different impact categories which have been developed.  Dong et al [4] explored the inconsistency between different life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods and deemed it a long-term challenge for the life cycle assessment (LCA) community.  They devised a set of conversion cards for conversion factors for use in life cycle impact assessment (LCIA).

CategoryAbbreviation Unit Category Abbreviation Unit Explanations/Notes
SimaPro LCA software v 9.0/Ecoinvent database v3.5 [5] ReCiPe Europe MidPoint Hierarchist (H) V1.06 [6] 
Acidification (ISO/TR14047)
Aquatic AcidificationAAkg SO2 eq     
Terrestrial Acidification/NitrificationTANkg SO2 eq Terrestrial acidification  kg SO2 eq 
Ecotoxicity (ISO/TR14047)
Aquatic EcotoxicityAE (footnote 2) kg TEG waterFreshwater ecotoxicity  kg 1,4-DB eq TEG: Tri Ethylene Glycol
    Marine ecotoxicity kg 1,4-DB eq DB: DichloroBenzene
Terrestrial EcotoxicityTE (footnote 2) kg TEG soil     
Eutrophication/Nitrification (ISO/TR14047)
Aquatic EutrophicationAEUkg PO4 P-lim Freshwater eutrophication kg P eq  
Terrestrial Acidification/Nitrification TAN kg SO2 eq Marine eutrophication kg N eq  
Climate change (ISO/TR14047)
Global WarmingGWkg CO2 eq Climate change kg CO2 eq  
Non-Renewable EnergyNREMJ primary     
Human toxicity (ISO/TR14047)
    Human toxicity kg 1,4-DB eq  
CarcinogensACkg C2H3Cl eq     
Non-CarcinogensNC kg C2H3Cl eq     
Respiratory InorganicsRIkg PM2.5 eq Particulate matter formation kg PM10 eq PM10: particles <10 μm diameter
PM2.5: particles <2.5 μm diameter
Respiratory OrganicsRO kg C2H4 eq     
Ionizing RadiationIRBq C−14 eq Ionising radiation kg U235 eq  
Depletion of abiotic/biotic resources (ISO/TR14047)
    Water depletion m3  
    Metal depletion kg Fe eq Fe: iron
Mineral ExtractionMEMJ surplus     
Stratospheric ozone depletion (ISO/TR14047)
Ozone Layer DepletionOLDkg CFC-11 eq Ozone depletion kg CFC-11 eq CFC: Chloro Fluoro Carbons
Photo-oxidant formation (ISO/TR14047)
    Photochemical oxidant formation kg NMVOC NMVOC: non-methane volatile organic compounds
Land Use (BS8905)
Land OccupationLOm2 org.arable Agricultural Land Occupation  m2 a 
    Urban Land Occupation m2 a  
    Natural land transformation m2  


  1. Environmental management — Life cycle assessment — Principles and frameworkISO 14040:2006, International Organization for Standardization, Geneva ~ Switzerland.
  2. Environmental management — Life cycle assessment — Requirements and guidelines, ISO 14044:2006, International Organization for Standardization, Geneva ~ Switzerland.
  3. Framework for the assessment of the sustainable use of materials. Guidance, BS 8905:2011, British Standards Institution, London.
  4. Y Dong, MdU Hossain, H Li and P Liu, Developing conversion factors of LCIA methods for comparison of LCA results in the construction sector, Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9016.
  5. J Fořt, J Kočí and R Černý, Environmental efficiency aspects of basalt fibers reinforcement in concrete mixtures, Energies, 2021, 14, 7736.
  6. R Pommier, G Grimaud, M Prinçaud, N Perry and G Sonnemann, LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) of EVP – engineering veneer product: plywood glued using a vacuum moulding technology from green veneers, Journal of Cleaner Production, 15 June 2016, 124, 383-394.

Created by John Summerscales on 17-Feb-2022 and updated on 18-Feb-2022 8:49. Terms and conditions. Errors and omissions. Corrections.