The Life Cycle Initiative

"More sustainable decision making for a sustainable world”

Decision makers often make choices on consumption or production without considering the full life cycle perspective or the broader implications on the environment, society or the economy. This might lead to unintended trade-offs between environmental, social or economic issues and mean that progress towards sustainable development is impeded.

UN Environment hosts the Life Cycle Initiative, a public-private, multi-stakeholder partnership enabling the global use of credible life cycle knowledge by private and public stakeholders.

By bringing “life cycle thinking” to the mindsets of decision makers, the Life Cycle Initiative can enhance the sustainability of their decisions and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals faster and more efficiently. The Initiative provides a global forum to ensure a science-based, consensus-building process to support more sustainable decisions.

Do you want an introduction to life cycle thinking and what it means? Take the free e-learning modules in English and Spanish!

The future of Life Cycle Thinking

The Life Cycle Initiative has set out in its third phase of activity (2017-2022) to offer technical and policy advice, capacity development and knowledge to its members and collaborators.

By 2022, the Life Cycle Initiative will:

  • Mainstream, through partnerships, the use of life cycle thinking into four global areas of decision and policy making in at least 15 countries and 30 companies (key partners include 10YFP, the International Resource Panel and SETAC, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry).
  • Train at least 2,500 policy makers, business decision makers and Life Cycle Assessment practitioners, and share at least 20 life cycle thinking success stories.
  • Offer a solution to access all life cycle assessment databases globally in an interoperable way, alongside a library of recommended impact assessment factors linked through a global nomenclature system.

To find out more about or join the Life Cycle Initiative, visit the website or contact Feng Wang at[at]

See also, the REAL Project - Resource Efficiency through Application of Life cycle thinking.

See also, the GLAD network - Global LCA Data Access network.