How does it work?
When carrying out an LCA, access to the complete supply-chain is required. Gathering such data by hand is practically impossible, but databases like Ecoinvent allow LCA practitioners to focus on foreground data (in- and outputs of the system under study), while using datasets for background data (supply-chain data). As such, the LCA practitioner can focus on the main hotspots in their system and its supply chain, without having to spend extensive amounts of time into uncovering details of the supply chain.
The greatest benefit of Ecoinvent is its completeness and transparency.
When using data from Ecoinvent, the LCA practitioner can be assured that all relevant aspects within the supply chain have been taken into account. All datasets are linked to each other and set-up in a transparent manner, allowing LCA practitioners to gain insight into the datasets and their supply chain, and even adapt them to fit the specific situation of the product system.
Extensive literature is available for LCA practitioners, including descriptions of the individual dataset and detailed reports (these are not available to Ecochain users, only to Ecochain employees).
Who created it?
Ecoinvent is a not-for-profit association based in Switzerland. The project started in 2003.
Current version in Ecochain
How big is it?
Ecoinvent has been continuously expanded since 2003 and currently contains over 16.000 unique datasets (Ecoinvent 3.5 contains 16.412 datasets). It also contains a wide array of stressors (emissions & extractions), which can be translated into environmental impacts with all impact assessment methods available.