Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Life Cycle Assessment
  • Why Work With NSF?

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is a transparent analysis of the environmental impacts of a product, system or service, including raw material acquisition, production, use and end of life. By identifying the critical impact categories, you can reduce environmental impacts where they are most beneficial and cost effective. In addition, ISO 14040-based LCAs can be used to meet green building rating system requirements such as LEED v4 and Green Globes. There are four acknowledged stages to an LCA:

  • Goal and Scope Definition: The product, process or service to be assessed is defined, a functional unit for comparison is chosen and the required level of detail is defined
  • Inventory Assessment: An inventory of relevant energy use, material inputs and environmental releases are quantified for each process, then combined in a process flow chart and related to the functional unit
  • Impact Assessment: The effects of use and emissions generated are quantified into impact categories
  • Interpretation: Results are reported and opportunities to reduce impacts on the environment are systematically evaluated

NSF Sustainability and partner organizations can help you develop your industry or product specific LCA(s), provide critical review and supply additional related services. Find out more about our LCA services by calling +1 734.827.5668 or e-mailing

Benefits of Life Cycle Assessment

A life cycle assessment provides many benefits, including allowing you to:

  • Gain a broad and comprehensive perspective of your product, system or service carbon footprint in order to reduce it, offset it or both
  • Benchmark the performance of alternative materials, product designs or packaging systems to identify best performance and money saving scenarios
  • Support marketing claims of more sustainable products, systems, organizations or services

NSF life cycle assessment services can help you develop LCAs as well as assess, verify, offset or certify results. To learn more, check out the Publications and Why Work With NSF? sections below.

Why Work With NSF?

With 70 years of experience testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment, NSF International and its NSF Sustainability Division are dedicated to greater transparency in product environmental reporting. We can expertly guide your organization through the LCA development and critical review process.

Make your LCAs work harder for you. LCAs developed to ISO 14040 guidelines may qualify your products to meet green building criteria. NSF is also a program operator to develop product category rules (PCRs) that define the criteria and guidelines for executing LCAs. In addition, we can third-party verify your resulting report, the environmental product declaration (EPD), and verify Sustainable Minds Transparency Reports® which are an alternative reporting format to EPDs for product categories without a PCR.

Whatever your reasons for developing LCAs, NSF can help you leverage them for greater business and market value.

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