Life cycle assessment is a topic in environmental informatics since many years. Computer science contributes to life cycle assessment as a research area in different dimensions. They implement life cycle assessment methods (e.g. matrix methods, software tools), they make the methods applicable in practice (graphical user interfaces, LCI and LCIA databases), they integrate the methods into computer-based environmental management information systems (EMIS). Life cycle assessments without computer support are unthinkable. Moreover, computer science contributes to the development of life cycle assessment methods: basic approaches, calculation engines, integration of different instruments (for instance life cycle costing, material flow cost accounting, product carbon footprinting, organizational LCA). Today, life cycle assessment stands more and more for a framework that includes different information instruments. Even if life cycle assessment (in a broader sense as a methodological framework) is still not an underlying principle of standard ERP system components, it is more attractive and appealing than ever before. The situation appears to be paradoxical, but as in dialectics, it may serve as a source of new scientific insights and approaches.
The state of the art in LCA and it’s ICT assistance will be discussed in this special session. Thought on further delevopments of the existing approaches are highly welcome.