At present, a number of Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) databases are available and widely used by LCA practitioners, and several new database development projects are being carried out or planned in an increasing number of countries. For all these databases it is highly important to develop harmonized indicators and measurement procedures for data quality in order to give an orientation to LCA practitioners. Therefore, an international process for addressing quality issues of LCI data sets and databases and a 3rd party peer review has been proposed in the LCI Definition Study of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative.
The different nature (qualitative, quantitative) and level (elementary flow, unit process, product system) of LCI uncertainty information results in a challenging task to provide adequate information on data quality and representativeness in order to supply high quality information and aggregate it towards higher levels within LCA studies. The rising demand for high-quality LCI data in various application fields led to numerous approaches addressing data quality, representativeness, and appropriateness - extending from qualitative descriptions to stochastic methodologies. Decision-makers and decision supporters therefore face a multitude of - in parts controversial - quality criteria and measures, which complicates the selection of LCI data and interpretation of the reliability of LCA results based upon them. Communication and transfer of data to and amongst practitioners is even more difficult due to different ways of quality reporting.
Under the auspices of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative LCA practitioners in industry, academies, and consulting, LCI data providers and government agencies have been invited to convene in this workshop and discuss contentious issues. The aim of the workshop is to contribute to a guideline document for a structured quality measurement, documentation and application.
This volume contains the papers presented at the International Workshop on Quality of LCI at Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe October 20-21 in Karlsruhe, Germany. As the papers in this proceedings show, the field of Quality of LCI Data is an important issue in various scientific contexts. Not only detailed theoretical contributions but also practical examples reveal the need of an international discussion track towards a common understanding of data quality in terms of data appropriateness.
Thanks are due to the contributing authors and participants, the members of the steering committee and the local organisers without which the conference would not have been possible.
L. Schebek, Chair of the steering committee