About

The Global LCA Data Access network (GLAD) is the largest directory of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) datasets, from independent LCA database providers, from around the world.

GLAD supports LCA data accessibility

GLAD does not directly host databases. Its main purpose is to help users find the LCA data they need. It then redirects the users to the data provider website, from which the datasets can be downloaded, for free or against a commercial license fee.  

GLAD enables interoperability of LCA data 

To enhance interoperability between formats, GLAD offers a conversion function. This allows users to convert a dataset from its native format into a format convenient for the user. 

Why GLAD

The growing interest in science-based decision making has increased the need for the availability and accessibility of LCA data. Life cycle assessments guide governments in the development of science-based policies, towards circularity and sustainable consumption and production. On the other hand, businesses and industries can base their innovation and strategic sustainability decisions on more robust information. GLAD aims to achieve wide usage of LCA through better accessibility and interoperability of LCA data.

GLAD Governance 

The Life Cycle Initiative hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is the custodian of GLAD. Strategic decisions are taken by the Steering Committee of the Life Cycle Initiative, which is technically advised by the Technical Management Group of GLAD.  

Guiding Principles 

  • GLAD is an open-source project. Public source code repositories of GLAD components are currently available for GLAD REST service and Conversion Service. All projects owned by UNEP can be found at //github.com/UNEP-Economy-Division/ 
  • GLAD ensures inclusiveness. Dataset providers connected to GLAD are called nodes. All nodes are encouraged to join GLAD, provided that their datasets meet the minimum requirements for interoperability (refer to proposed metadata descriptors). 
  • Participation in GLAD is voluntary.  
  • Nodes may choose to provide the datasets in more than one language. English versions of datasets are required.  
  • GLAD favors the sharing of datasets that are provided for free to the users. However, nodes may also decide to charge for the acquisition of specific datasets in their database. 

Benefits of GLAD 

  • Reduces time in identifying existing datasets  
  • Reduces costs of studies 
  • Makes metadata accessible in a consistent format 
  • Enables users to choose data fit for the purpose of their particular study 
  • Enhances accuracy of LCA 
  • Promotes compatibility between databases and interoperability 
  • Encourages development of most demanded data 

LCA Practitioners can more easily: 

  • Find and compare datasets through the search engine and globally agreed metadata descriptors. 
  • Download and convert datasets in the desired format. 

LCA Datasets Providers can obtain: 

  • Increased visibility of their datasets to the LCA community 
  • Analytics to track user searches and dataset usage. 
  • Quick identification of existing datasets and data gaps in a particular country 

Do you want to connect your data?  

See how to get involved

Do you still have questions about GLAD?  

Check some frequently asked questions

Acknowledgments 

Historically, fourteen governments were involved in the conception of GLAD. Its development was made possible by the contributions of many participating governments, most notably (in alphabetical order): Brazil, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, USA and the European Commission. 

Graphical user interface, application, PowerPoint

Description automatically generated 

In addition, the generous in-kind contributions of many actors from the private sector (LCA data providers, software developers and other experts) has been instrumental in developing, and in continuing to improve GLAD. The URL domain of GLAD was kindly contributed by Professor Sangwon Suh, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Launch of GLAD 

The official launch of GLAD took place on 11th June 2020. Over 300 LCA practitioners, node owners, and policymakers from around the globe joined the online event to celebrate the GLAD launch with already over 80,000 datasets indexed in GLAD. The recording below presents the overview of the GLAD, a demo, a case study of using GLAD in practice, perspectives from users, nodes, database providers, and much more. You can also consult the GLAD Launch presentations here [.ppt 58MB]