ecoinvent - an association founded by ETHZ, EPFL, PSI, Empa and Agroscope - is the world`s leading supplier of consistent and transparent life cycle inventory (LCI) data of renown quality. With the ecoinvent database version 3.1 and the still successful version 2.2, ecoinvent offers science-based, industrial, international life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle management (LCM) data and services.
ecoinvent, the Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, is a Competence Centre of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH Zurich) and Lausanne (EPF Lausanne), the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa), and the Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon (ART). ecoinvent was and is supported by Swiss Federal Offices.
Our mission is to establish and provide scientifically sound and transparent international life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle management (LCM) data and services to industry, consultancies, public authorities, and research institutions. Our data and services support you in enhancing the environmental performance of your products, processes, and services.
We supply you with the ecoinvent database with several thousand industrial life cycle inventory (LCI) datasets to assist your every-day work related to
- Integrated Product Policy (IPP)
- Design for Environment (DfE)
- Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
- Product Stewardship
ecoinvent supplies you with more than 20 years of experience in LCA methodology development and LCI data compilation for different industrial sectors. With our broad international network of resellers and partners, we accommodate the needs of clients worldwide.
The Centre for Life Cycle Inventories
A joint initiative of the ETH domain and Swiss Federal Offices.
Foundation of the ecoinvent association
To date, the ecoinvent Centre was a competence centre of five Swiss research institutes, namely Agroscope, Empa, EPFL, ETH Zurich and PSI.
As of the 18 June 2013, ecoinvent is an independent association consisting of the five institutes as active members. With this step ecoinvent has become a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to ensure the further development of a consistent, transparent and trustworthy database for the LCA community as well as for creators of eco-design tools, decision-makers, industry and scientific research. Furthermore, this change in its organisational structure allows ecoinvent to be more flexible in its decision making thus ensuring that requests can be dealt with more speedily. In addition, the association provides a stable foundation for the five institutions to continue their work in guaranteeing the availability of transparent, high quality data.
The cooperation of the ecoinvent institutes continued for the development of version 3, under the leadership of Gérard Gaillard from Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station (ART). The scientific management was performed by Bo Weidema, while the business management from 2012 was passed on to Gregor Wernet. The staff of the ecoinvent Centre had in the meantime grown from one full-time person to five. The cooperation with ifu Hamburg GmbH for software development and sup-port was continued.
The development of version 3 of the ecoinvent database was only made possible by funds obtained from sales of licenses and substantial in-kind contributions of the above-mentioned LCA-institutes in the ETH domain.
The LCA-institutes in the ETH domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) Zürich and Lausanne, Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) Villigen, and Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) in St. Gallen and Dübendorf) as well as the LCA-group of the Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station (ART) in Zürich continued their co-operation in the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, the ecoinvent Centre.
Besides the institutions mentioned above the following consultants contributed with LCI data compilation: Basler & Hofmann, Zürich, Bau- und Umweltchemie, Zürich, Carbotech AG, Basel, Chudacoff Oekoscience, Zürich, Doka Life Cycle Assessments, Zürich, Dr. Werner Environment & Development, Zürich, Ecointesys - Life Cycle Systems Sarl., Lugano, ENERS Energy Concept, Lausanne, ESU-services Ltd., Uster, Infras AG, Bern and Umwelt- und Kompostberatung, Grenchen. Rolf Frischknecht lead the ecoinvent management, Annette Köhler was in charge with Marketing and sales and ifu Hamburg GmbH with software development and support.
By 2007, the ecoinvent database had become the most widespread and acknowledged life cycle inven-tory database worldwide. This success was only possible because of the on-going support by Swiss Federal Offices and European Organisations. In particular we wish to express our thanks to the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN - BAFU), the Swiss Federal Office for Energy (SFOE - BFE) and the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG - BLW). We received further support from several associations, namely Alcosuisse, Biogas Forum Schweiz, Entsorgung und Recycling Zürich, Amt für Hochbauten Stadt Zürich, Erdöl-Vereinigung, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and others. We wish to express our thanks for their valuable support.
In 2008, the management of the ecoinvent Centre was taken over by Bo Weidema, with Roland Hischier as deputy manager, and the planning of version 3 was initiated, while at the same time publish-ing additional data and corrections in the versions 2.1 and 2.2.
The first steps for the ecoinvent project were taken during the late 1990ties. The individual projects for data harmonisation and compilation have been funded by the Swiss Federal Roads Authority (FEDRO - ASTRA), the Swiss Federal Office for Construction and Logistics (BBL), the Swiss Federal Office for Energy (SFOE - BFE), the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG - BLW), and the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape (FOEN - BUWAL). The database software development was funded by the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories and the salary for the project management by Empa and the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories.
After the successful launch of ecoinvent data v1.01 in 2003, the work concentrated on an extension and revision of the contents resulting in the release of version 2.0 in 2007.
1992 - 1999The Beginnings
In the last decade, several different databases for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) have been developed in Switzerland within the ETH domain and other Swiss Federal institutions.
Up to the late nineties, several public Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) databases existed in Switzerland, partly covering the same economic sectors (Frischknecht et al. 1994, 1996; Gaillard et al. 1997; Habersatter et al. 1996, 1998; Künniger & Richter 1995). These databases were developed by different institutes and organisations. Life cycle inventory data for a particular material or activity available from these databases often did not coincide and therefore the outcome of an LCA were (also) dependent on the institute working on it. Furthermore, the efforts required to maintain and update comprehensive and high quality LCA-databases are beyond the capacity of any individual institute.
At the same time, LCA received more and more attention by industry and authorities as one important tool for e.g., Integrated Product Policy, Technology Assessment, or Design for the Environment. In parallel with this increasing trend in LCA applications, the demand for high quality, reliable, transparent, independent and consistent LCA data increased as well.
The ecoinvent Centre was founded in 1997 and has grown to be the most used Life Cycle Inventory database worldwide. After two decades ecoinvent now offers science-based, industrial, international Life Cycle Inventory data and services to users around the globe.
With the version 3 of its Life Cycle Inventory database ecoinvent is at the forefront of Life Cycle Thinking. It is ecoinvent's mission to promote the use and good practice of Life Cycle Inventory. Consistent and coherent LCA datasets for basic processes make it easier to perform life cycle assessment studies and increase the credibility and acceptance of the life cycle assessment results. The quality of the life cycle data and the user-friendly access to the database are prerequisites to establish LCA as a reliable tool for environmental assessment that will support an Integrated Product Policy (IPP).
ecoinvent wants to be the preferred source for Life Cycle data worldwide.
It strives to provide the most relevant, reliable, transparent and accessible Life Cycle Inventory data of high quality for users worldwide.