Life Cycle Assessment: Do more than measure your environmental impact

Advanced digitalization helps companies achieve their carbon neutral goals by not only measuring their current environmental impact, but also the impact of future decisions.

Urgent times call for effective solutions

Committing to carbon neutrality is just the first step. The second is how you actually achieve it. This starts with being able to measure the environmental impact of your business end-to-end.


But that shouldn’t be the limit. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools/software, also known as life cycle analysis, enables you to assess the sustainability of any decision you make, even before they’re implemented.


Sustainable Innovation Intelligence

How Manufacturers Are Planning for a More Sustainable Future

80%1 of a product or service’s design determines its environmental impact throughout the lifecycle.

56% of executives know the importance of integrating sustainability principles into product and service development.

Yet only 26% have revised their product and service development processes to maximize any sustainability benefits.

Life Cycle Assessment example

For a clearer picture, the video below demonstrates the EPFL Racing Team’s life cycle initiative with 3DEXPERIENCE by Dassault Systèmes.

What is Life Cycle Assessment and why do you need it?

LCA quantifies the environmental impact of end-to-end business products and services, from sourcing raw materials to delivering finished goods. By using data about a company’s processes and from thousands of sources, LCA aims to answer questions such as:

  1. Which product designs and material selections are the most sustainable ones? 
  2. Which processes have the lowest consumption of land and water resources?
  3. Which manufacturing and supplier strategy has the best carbon footprint?

LCA tools have been available for decades, but they have long been the preserve of specialist teams, and their findings have been difficult and time-consuming to integrate into product development and delivery. 

However, thanks to advanced digitalization and virtual twin technologies, LCA is now being put in the hands of teams who can use it to optimize design choices, right from the beginning, with a clear understanding of what actions have the highest environmental impact. 

This allows project teams to work collaboratively and identify optimal trade-offs, test designs virtually and cost-effectively, and reduce cycle times.

The above is a simplified LCA demonstration of two HVAC components. We invite you to explore different results using the Recalculate button to see how the different human activities compare with each other and with your sustainability goals. The data for the human activities comes directly from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s built-in LCA solution, with the ecoinvent database2 fully integrated.

The power and potential of LCA within the virtual twin

Dassault Systèmes’ Sustainable Innovation Intelligence solution enables this integration of LCA and virtual twin technologies with design and delivery functions.

By combining LCA with the virtual twin, detailed environmental assessments are available from as early as the ideation stage, and then to every member of the innovation process downstream.

To consistently deliver accurate insights, Dassault Systèmes has partnered with environmental intelligence provider ecoinvent. Their database monitors 20,000 activity types, with data updated every year, and allows for optimization across 16 different KPIs.

LCA brings the metrics needed to evaluate environmental impacts across the product lifecycle. Integrating that with virtual twin technology opens new possibilities to address those impacts very early on.

Lifecycle Assessment Advances Sustainability > Emilia Moreno Ruiz > Dassault Systèmes
Emilia Moreno Ruiz
CTO, ecoinvent

Key Factors of the Sustainable Innovation Intelligence Solution

The Sustainable Innovation Intelligence solution enables companies to:

  • Follow a sustainability-driven engineering approach that sets sustainable goals, reinforces eco-design practices and drives innovation throughout the product lifecycle
  • Assess human activities and optimize for sustainability
  • Understand a product’s environmental impact across the value chain, from raw materials, to packaging and transport, to manufacturing, to recovery and end-of-life
  • Explore design alternatives and model various trade-off scenarios


Lifecycle Assessment Advances Sustainability > ecoinvent Association > Dassault Systèmes®

The ecoinvent Database

The ecoinvent association is the world leader in the provision of environmental data. The ecoinvent database contains over 19,000 life cycle inventory datasets across all industrial sectors. It covers a diverse range of sectors on a global level. A not-for-profit association, ecoinvent was founded by the Swiss research institutes ETHZ, EPFL, PSI, Empa and Agroscope and promotes the availability of environmental data worldwide.

1Source: “The Contribution of Design to Sustainable Development” by Euractiv
2Source: “Ecoinvent database” by IISD


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