ORIENTING’s LCSA methodology – lessons learnt from industrial testing

Hanna Pihkola, Marina Isasa, Till M. Bachmann, Alessandra Zamagni, Isadora Correa, Rafael Horn, Katri Behm, Carla Scagnetti, Peter Saling, Marjukka Kujanpää

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference AbstractScientificpeer-review


The ORIENTING project seeks to develop a robust, comprehensive, and operational methodology for Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) of products, to support the transition towards a circular economy. During the project, five companies, representing different industry sectors (food, pulp and paper, chemicals, textile and recycling), have tested the methodology for assessing a diverse group of products and services. The aim of the industrial case studies was to collect feedback from industry partners on applicability of the methodology, to identify potential future use cases and to understand how the LCSA results should be communicated to different stakeholders.

An important goal of ORIENTING is to help overcome barriers currently hindering practical implementation of LCSA. These include lack of guidelines and tools that would cover all domains of LCSA, complexity of the methods, lack of necessary knowledge, and time and budget constraints. These barriers are particularly critical for small and medium-sized enterprises. On the other hand, larger companies are struggling with the amount of sustainability methods and tools they need to implement, which might make them reluctant for adopting any new methods unless clear benefits can be expected. To tackle these barriers, the LCSA methodology has been developed according to a multi-level approach, i.e., by defining level of applications, and related methodological requirements, depending on the goal and scope of the study and on the experience of the user. During the project, the methodology was implemented differently across the case studies, taking into account previous experience and specific needs of each case company.

The LCSA methodology developed in ORIENTING consists of an LCSA framework that builds as much as possible on existing initiatives, guidelines and standards available for the different sustainability domains. The starting point for methodology development was the framework proposed by UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative (2011), combining environmental LCA, social LCA and life cycle costing. Additionally, the methodology includes indicators and methods that enable a practical assessment of product circularity and raw material criticality. Methods and guidelines applied within the methodology include the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) method (EC 2021), the European Commission’s Criticality Assessment method, circularity indicators developed by the WBSCD and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, UNEP (2020) Guidelines for S-LCA, the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment (Goedkoop et al., 2020) and the Hunkeler et al. (2008) framework for Life Cycle Costing. The methodology is structured into four main phases in line with ISO 14040.

In addition to describing the LCSA methodology, this research presents main lessons learnt from the ORIENTING case studies and explains how the final LCSA methodology is further developed using the experiences gained from industrial testing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2023
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
Event11th International Conference on Life Cycle Management, LCM 2023 - Lille Grand Palais, Lille, France
Duration: 6 Sept 20238 Sept 2023


Conference11th International Conference on Life Cycle Management, LCM 2023
Internet address


  • life cycle sustainability assessment
  • life cycle assessment
  • life cycle costing
  • social life cycle assessment
  • circular economy


Dive into the research topics of 'ORIENTING’s LCSA methodology – lessons learnt from industrial testing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this