Chapter 5: Introduction to the basics of life cycle sustainability assessment focusing on the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative LCSA framework
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Sustainable development encompassing resilient economies and social stability of the global system is an increasingly important consideration for decision-makers in both businesses and governments. For sustainable development to be implemented effectively, performance measures are required. This emerging need has been addressed by the sustainability research and community since 2008 with the first contribution of Klöpffer. Since then methods, frameworks and principles have been designed and proposed with a growing number of applications. Since 2011 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has promoted through the Life Cycle Initiative with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) a pragmatic approach using the LCSA framework, which is based on the three techniques: LCSA = LCA + LCC + S-LCA. The aim of this chapter is to provide the findings of a review about the evolution of methodologies, frameworks and principles sustaining the current practice of life cycle assessment, to illustrate the UNEP/SETAC LCSA framework, considered as the most applied approach, and to describe the challenges identified by the community of research and application.

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