Characterisation factors for the material footprint for ecoinvent 3.7.1/3.8+openLCA available

Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment

Dear colleagues,

In process-based LCA, an analog implementation of the material footprint, which is commonly calculated with MRIO models, was lacking for some time. Thanks to the work by Mostert and Bringezu (2019), a list of 286 characterization factors for the material footprint of products and services, expressed as raw material equivalents (RME/RMI) and total material requirement (TMR) of individual natural resources, was compiled and made available for ecoinvent 3.1.

In a recent report (Pauliuk 2022), an attempt to transfer and extend the material-specific MFA characterization factors (RMI and TMR) compiled by Mostert and Bringezu (2019) to process-based LCA in form of the databases ecoinvent 3.7.1 and 3.8 is described. The material footprint is broken down into the four commonly used broad categories: biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores, and non-metallic minerals. Also, the total is reported.

The report contains a detailed technical description of the update procedure, a justification and discussion of the assumptions made, a comparison to the ReCiPe methods for material depletion, exemplary results, and a description of the possible way forward with material footprint calculation in process-based LCA.

The report is available for download here:

and a summary, including a definition of the indicators presented, is available here:

The CFs are publicly available (see link in the report), and a quick-to-import version for openLCA is distributed as well (see link in the report).


I hope this new method is useful for some of you, and I'll be happy to engage in further discussion.