Six areas of methodological debate on attributional life cycle assessment
Paper i proceeding, 2022

There is a general agreement in the LCA community that there are two types of LCAs: attributional and consequential. There have been numerous discussions about the pros and cons of the two approaches and on differences in methodology, in particular about methods that can be used in consequential LCA. There are, however, methodological aspects of attributional LCA and how it can be used that need further attention. This article discusses six areas of debate and potential misunderstandings concerning attributional LCA. These are: 1) LCA results of all the products in the world should add up to the total environmental impact of the world, sometimes referred to as the 100 % rule. 2) Attributional LCA is less relevant than consequential LCA. 3) System expansion, and/or substitution, cannot be used in attributional LCA. 4) Attributional LCA leads to more truncation errors than consequential LCA does. 5) There is a clear connection between the goal and questions of an LCA and the choice of attributional or consequential LCA. 6) There is a clear boundary between attributional and consequential LCA. In the article, these statements are discussed, and it is argued that they are either misunderstandings or sometimes incorrect.


G. Finnveden

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

Rickard Arvidsson

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Environmental Systems Analysis

Anna Björklund

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)

Jeroen Guniée

Universiteit Leiden

Reinout Heijungs

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Universiteit Leiden

Michael Martin

Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)

IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet

E3S Web of Conferences

25550403 (ISSN) 22671242 (eISSN)

Vol. 349 03007

10th International Conference on Life Cycle Management, LCM 2021
Virtual, Online, Germany,


Annan naturresursteknik



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