ISO 14040:2006 describes the principles and framework for life cycle assessment (LCA) including: definition of the goal and scope of the LCA, the life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) phase, the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase, the life cycle interpretation phase, reporting and critical review of the LCA, limitations of the LCA, the relationship between the LCA phases, and conditions for use of value choices and optional elements.
ISO 14040:2006 covers life cycle assessment (LCA) studies and life cycle inventory (LCI) studies. It does not describe the LCA technique in detail, nor does it specify methodologies for the individual phases of the LCA.
The development of the international standards for life cycle assessment (ISO 14040:1997, ISO 14041:1999, ISO 14042:2000, ISO 14043:2000) was an important step to consolidate procedures and methods of LCA. Their contribution to the general acceptance of LCA by all stakeholders and by the international community was crucial. Currently, the process of the revision of this first generation of LCA standards is close to completion. The paper explains the outline as well as formal and technical changes of the coming new international standards of LCA, i.e. the new ISO 14040 and ISO 14044.
The paper refers to life cycle assessment based on the international standards for LCA (ISO 14040:1997, ISO 14041:1999, ISO 14042:2000, ISO 14043:2000). The content relates to the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) versions of the new ISO 14040 and ISO 14044.
With the publication of the two new standards, ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, the existing four standards ISO 14040:1997, ISO 14041:1999, ISO 14042:2000 and ISO 14043:2000 are technically revised, cancelled and replaced. According to the scope of the revision, the core part of the technical contents remains unchanged. Improved readability and the removal of errors and inconsistencies was the focus of the revision. However, despite the fact that the main technical content was confirmed to be still valid, some relevant formal and technical changes were made. On the technical side these include e.g. the addition of principles for LCA, the addition of an annex about applications, the addition of several definitions (e.g. product, process, etc.), clarifications concerning LCA intended to be used in comparative assertions intended to be disclosed to the public, clarifications concerning the critical review panel, clarifications concerning system boundary, etc. On the formal side, changes include the reduced number of standards, a reduced number of annexes, a reduced number of pages that contain requirements, alignment of definitions and clarification of compliance with the standards.
The two new standards, ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, reconfirm the validity of the main technical content of the previous standards. Errors and inconsistencies were removed and the readability was improved. The added technical content is in line with the previous requirements and serves mainly as a clarification of the technical content. The unanimous vote on the Draft International Standard versions proved that this was achieved on the basis of the broadest possible international consensus.
Currently the national member bodies undertake the final voting on the FDIS-versions of the standards. Based on the voting results at the previous stages of the documents, a positive result is expected. The publication of the new international standards for life cycle assessment (ISO 14040 and ISO 14044) is expected around mid-2006. For the sake of the international and stakeholder acceptance of LCA, it is recommended that the new standards serve as core reference documents for the users and practitioners of LCA.
The need to standardize the life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to ensure consistency in the process has led to the development of the LCA standards in the International Standards Organization (ISO) 14000 series. Publication of the initial ISO standards in 1997 resulted in a commonly accepted standard method for LCA (delineated by ISO 14040 [ISO 2006a] and 14044 [ISO 2006b]) and for \"ecolabels\" which are referred to as environmental product declarations (EPD) (ISO 2006c); however, specifics on how to interpret and apply the general rules have proven to be varying from one application to another. Therefore, agreeing on the interpretation that is relevant to different industries is necessary. The LCA approach developed and used by an industry to produce EPDs is called a Product Category Rule (PCR). A commonly cited set of LCA standards specific to EPDs for building materials are those published by the European Committee for Standardization under the Technical Committee 350 \"sustainability of construction works\", and which include a standard for EPDs published as EN15804 (CEN 2012). These and other standards and guidelines for LCA are referred to throughout these guidelines for pavement LCA.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO). 2006a. Environmental Management - Life Cycle Assessment - Principles and Framework. ISO Standard 14040. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland. 076b4e4f54