Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis

Alessandra Zamagni*, Jeroen B. Guinée, Reinout Heijungs, Paolo Masoni

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    Despite the great number of methods and approaches developed, the broad notion of sustainability is still not sufficiently reflected in the existing assessment frameworks and tools. In fact, each of them addresses only specific aspects of sustainability, and thus fails in describing its main characteristics, i.e., complexity (multi-disciplinary knowledge, multi-spatial and time scales), uncertainty (many variables, poor information, and data availability), and urgency (urgency of processes, such as climate change). Keeping the life cycle approach and method as a reference, an integration framework for sustainability has been proposed, namely Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis (LCSA). With respect to LCA, it deepens the scope of mechanisms, by means of including also physical, social, economic, cultural, institutional and political ones. Moreover, it broadens the scope of indicators and the object of the analysis, shifting from individual product systems to sectors, basket of commodities, markets, or whole economies. This chapter describes the LCSA framework, analyzes the two components of deepening and broadening, and indicates the future direction of LCSA.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLife Cycle Assessment Handbook: A Guide for Environmentally Sustainable Products
    PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Print)9781118099728
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2012


    • Broadening
    • Deepening
    • Empirical knowledge
    • Life cycle sustainability analysis
    • Mechanisms
    • Normative positions


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