Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data allow policy makers to develop sound policies towards sustainable consumption and production, and industries can base their innovation and strategic sustainability decisions on more robust information. Enhanced data accessibility and interoperability benefits the whole life cycle community and enables Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to be used widely.
The “Global LCA Data Access” network (GLAD) aims to achieve better data accessibility and interoperability. The network is comprised of independently-operated LCA databases (nodes), providing users an interface to find and access life cycle inventory datasets from different providers, delivered in the user’s preferred format. GLAD thus supports life cycle assessment through easier access to data sources around the world.
One of the main functionalities of GLAD is the conversion function which allows users to convert a dataset from its native format in the source database (node) into another format convenient for the user. This functionality is based on key metadata descriptors, which are required from datasets to be connected to GLAD in order to allow for interoperability between them, as well as a global mapping of elementary flows’ nomenclature.
UN Environment serves as the Secretariat of the GLAD network. Over the past years, fourteen governments have been involved in the conception and development of GLAD:
Dataset providers around the world are invited to express their interest in becoming a node of GLAD.
The Global LCA Data Access network is a coalition of dataset providers (nodes), providing access to their datasets through GLAD to users worldwide. The purpose of GLAD is to provide a global network comprised of independently-operated and interoperable LCA databases that connects multiple data sources to support life cycle assessment in a way that facilitates sustainability-related decisions. The following principles provide guidance in terms of usage of datasets in GLAD (also referred to as the Network) and establishing their interoperability.
The development of GLAD was made possible with the contributions of many participating governments, most notably (in alphabetical order): Brazil, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, USA and the European Commission.
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 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.