Aims and scope
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment (Int J Life Cycle Assess) is the first journal devoted entirely to Life Cycle Assessment and closely related methods. LCA has become a recognized instrument to assess the ecological burdens and impacts throughout the consecutive and interlinked stages of a product system, from raw material acquisition or generation from natural resources, through production and use to final disposal. The Int J Life Cycle Assess is a forum for scientists developing LCA and LCM (Life Cycle Management); LCA and LCM practitioners; managers concerned with environmental aspects of products; governmental environmental agencies responsible for product quality; scientific and industrial societies involved in LCA development, and ecological institutions and bodies.
Papers on applied LCA/LCM, especially case studies, will be considered for publication if they are of general interest to the LCA/LCM community and make an innovative contribution to science such as highlighting new insights into a particular product system or policy question, such as a product that has been rarely or never assessed; a special interest operation, e.g. hydrofracking or Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS); present novel methodology; or describe efforts to build life cycle thinking capability within an organization or region.
In addition to LCA/LCM, papers on Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) and Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) are also welcome. Life Cycle Costing (LCC) studies are considered for publication in the framework of LCSA (three pillar concept/triple bottom line).
Papers on the application of life cycle assessment methodology in single issue studies, such as greenhouse gas analysis as a means to assess carbon footprint, climate change, or global warming potential, will also be considered if the following conditions are met:
· The paper makes an innovative contribution to science such as highlighting new insights into a particular product system or policy question, or describing efforts to build life cycle thinking capability within an organization or region.
· The aspects discussed are not repetitive of other published studies.
· The authors are clear about the findings and acknowledge other relevant impact categories in the interpretation/discussion section of the paper.
· The caveat of burden shifting across impact categories must be recognized; proper discussion of how the limitations influences the results and conclusions of the study, e.g. may lead to sub-optimization.
· Verification of the relevance of the indicators and approaches chosen is needed; selecting impact categories requires a full justification of the choice in line with the goal and scope (i.e. the research objective).
Regarding the use of an older LCIA method, authors must fully justify the use of outdated methods/IA factors (even in a comparative study). Of course, an LCIA method cannot be judged alone, but its use must be viewed along with the inventory data; often LCI might not be appropriate e.g. if there is a bias between background and foreground data or if elementary flows which might be used in an LCIA method have not been investigated in the database. This is of course also an issue of the goal and scope definition. A study which describes results based solely on an outdated method may be published IF the authors argue why that choice of method was necessary.
However, the use of only Ecoindicator'9x (which was superseded by ReCiPe) or the old ecological scarcity method (which was superseded by ecological scarcity 2013) is unacceptable. Readers are referred to the following documents for guidance:
- Handbook (Guinée et al 2002) or https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/research/research-output/science/cml-ia-characterisation-factors.
- ILCD handbook "Recommendations for Life Cycle Impact Assessment in the European context" and http://eplca.jrc.ec.europa.eu/uploads/ILCDI -Recommendation-of-methods-for-LCIA-def.pdf.
It is preferable that an LCA study apply at least two LCIA methods in order to check the importance of their choice on the results, such as through the use of sensitivity analysis. In the social sciences and in business research, triangulation is used to help interpret the environmental impacts building on different impact estimation methodologies and check the results against each other. On this basis, one can verify e.g. if CML and TRACI both lead to the same results to improve the quality of the performed study. But it is not a hard and fast rule to use more than one method as long as proper reasoning is given.