The establishment of the international standards of Life Cycle Assessment—LCA (ISO 14040 series) led to worldwide acceptance of LCA. The ISO standards of LCA (ISO 14040 and ISO 14044) are the only globally relevant international standard documents on LCA which are broadly referenced by users and other standardization processes. Thus, they represent the constitution of LCA.
This chapter opens with an outline of the historical development of the international LCA standardization process and ends with an outlook on the future. The main part deals with the core standards and the spin-off standards of LCA. The core standards are ISO 14040—Environmental Management—Life Cycle Assessment—Principles and Framework and ISO 14044—Environmental Management—Life Cycle Assessment—Requirements and Guidelines.
Based on these classical LCA standards, ‘new’ approaches have recently been developed which have led to several spin-off-standards. They cover issues such as:
‘Single-issue-LCAs’ like carbon footprinting (ISO 14067) or water footprinting (ISO 14046),
‘Beyond environment-LCAs’ like life cycle costing, social LCA and eco-efficiency assessments (ISO 14045) or even life cycle sustainability assessments,
‘Beyond product-LCAs’ like Organizational LCAs (ISO 14072) or sector-based IO-LCAs and
‘Beyond quantification-LCAs’ like type III environmental product declarations (ISO 14025) or other types of environmental labels and claims.