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Life Cycle Assessment


This course will introduce you to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA ) methodology, a tool to assess the environmental impact of products and systems over the whole product life cycle, from cradle to grave.
After a discussion of the potentials and limitations of quantitative LCA compared to other assessment tools, we will detail and practice each of the LCA phases. 1) The goals and system definition phase defines the goal and scope of the study, including the product function, functional unit, and the product system and its boundaries. 2) The Life Cycle Inventory phase quantifies the inventory of the various elementary flows of resource extractions and substance emissions crossing the system boundary, providing an overview of existing databases. 3) The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase determines multiple environmental impacts damage and provides an overview of the existing LCIA methods 4) The interpretation phase analyses results from an LCA case study to provide recommendations towards more sustainable products.

Leading actions in several industrial sectors (agriculture and foods, automotive, personal care products, and energy) will be examined through relevant case studies in order to demonstrate how effective environmental life-cycle assessment leads to new product development.





6 weeks



U-M Credit Eligible



  • Olivier Joliet

    Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

    School of Public Health