SALCA Life Cycle Assessment Method


Life cycle assessment is a method for the environmental assessment of products, processes and systems. It was developed for decision-makers to support strategic planning, prioritisation and product design, as well as the consistent, science-based analysis of production systems.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) considers a product or system over its entire lifetime (“from cradle to grave”). It quantifies all required resources and emissions for each life-cycle stage, calculates the environmental impacts of these input and output flows, and assesses them in relation to the function of the product being examined. In addition to the direct environmental impacts such as nitrate or phosphorus emissions from arable land, the LCA includes the indirect environmental impacts associated with the production of upstream products and resources such as livestock feed and fertilisers. The method is standardised in ISO Standards 14040 and 14044.

With SALCA (Swiss Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment), we at Agroscope are developing a methodology especially geared to life cycle assessment in the agricultural and food sector. SALCA is suitable for the life cycle assessment of products, production systems, farms, or even the entire agricultural sector including imports and exports.


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