ecoinvent is a not-for-profit association founded by several institutes of the ETH Domain and by Agroscope.

2013 - present


ecoinvent version 3.5

The fifth update of ecoinvent version 3 was released on the 23rd of August, 2018. It features more than two thousand new and updated datasets related to waste treatment, hard coal and aluminium supply, pulp and containerboard production and for the first time also on aquaculture and fish capture. Moreover, with the continued commitment to version 3 improvements the representation of supply chains was revised. Over thousand links between demanding and supplying activities were updated and hundreds of new, regional market datasets for various products were introduced.


ecoinvent version 3.4

Version 3.4 was released on the 4th October 2017. The fourth update of ecoinvent version 3 includes over a thousand new and update datasets. The new data covers: updates of the electricity markets for both attributional and consequential system models, partitioning of the electricity sector by state and grid for the country of India, new and updated data for the European supply chains for natural gas, new and updated data for chemical products, and lastly activities for the recycling of PE and PET. With the release of version 3.4, ecoinvent is committed to maintain version 3 improvement in terms of information and documentation. As per the previous version, users can find the PDF documentation for all datasets available on ecoQuery; additionally, all products have prices as well as six compulsory properties.


ecoinvent version 3.3


Version 3.3 was released on the 15th August 2016. The third update of ecoinvent version 3 included the release of hundreds of new data in the field of agriculture. The new data included new products for a number of geographies as well as new technologies. Additionally, version 3.3 includes prices for all products (with exception to waste), and improved supply chains. For this new release ecoinvent focused also onto the enhancement of end-users experience; the new PDF documentation makes the consultation of a dataset's documentation much easier. 


ecoinvent version 3.2


Version 3.2 was released on 30 November 2015. The second update of ecoinvent version 3 broadens and deepens the scope of the already existing data. This release provided a further update of the electricity sector, data on refrigerated transport and new international data for several sectors. It also introduced market groups for regions, countries and products.


ecoinvent version 3.1


The first update of ecoinvent version 3 was released in July 2014. It includes new and updated data as well as the cut-off system model, providing users of version 3 now with three system models to choose from.

Foundation of the ecoinvent Association


Since 18 June 2013, ecoinvent is an independent association consisting of the five institutes as active members. With this step ecoinvent has become a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to ensure the further development of a consistent, transparent and trustworthy database for the LCA community as well as for creators of eco-design tools, decision-makers, industry and scientific research.


Furthermore, this change in its organisational structure allows ecoinvent to be more flexible in its decision making thus ensuring that requests can be dealt with more speedily. In addition, the association provides a stable foundation for the five institutions to continue their work in guaranteeing the availability of transparent, high quality data.

ecoinvent version 3.0

The cooperation of the ecoinvent institutes continued for the development of version 3, under the leadership of Gérard Gaillard from Agroscope. Bo Weidema led the scientific management, while the business management from 2012 was passed on to Gregor Wernet. The ecoinvent team in the meantime had grown from one full-time person to five. The cooperation with ifu Hamburg GmbH for software development and support was continued.


The development of version 3 of the ecoinvent database was only made possible by funds obtained from sales of licences and substantial in-kind contributions of the LCA institutes in the ETH Domain.




ecoinvent version 2.0 to 2.2

The LCA-institutes in the ETH domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH) Zurich and Lausanne, Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) Villigen, and Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) in St. Gallen and Duebendorf) as well as the LCA group of the Agroscope in Zürich continued their cooperation in the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories, the ecoinvent Centre.

Besides the institutions mentioned above the following consultants contributed with LCI data compilation: Basler & Hofmann, Zurich, Bau- und Umweltchemie, Zurich, Carbotech AG, Basel, Chudacoff Oekoscience, Zürich, Doka Life Cycle Assessments, Zürich, Dr. Werner Environment & Development, Zurich, Ecointesys - Life Cycle Systems Sarl., Lugano, ENERS Energy Concept, Lausanne, ESU-services Ltd., Uster, Infras AG, Bern and Umwelt- und Kompostberatung, Grenchen. Rolf Frischknecht lead the ecoinvent management, Annette Köhler was in charge with Marketing and sales and ifu Hamburg GmbH with software development and support.

By 2007, the ecoinvent database had become the most used and acknowledged life cycle inventory database worldwide. This success was only possible because of the ongoing support by Swiss Federal Offices and European Organisations. In particular we wish to express our thanks to the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN - BAFU), the Swiss Federal Office for Energy (SFOE - BFE) and the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG - BLW). We received further support from several associations, namely Alcosuisse, Biogas Forum Schweiz, Entsorgung und Recycling Zürich, Amt für Hochbauten Stadt Zürich, Erdöl-Vereinigung, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and others. We wish to express our thanks for their valuable support.

In 2008, the management of the ecoinvent Centre was taken over by Bo Weidema, with Roland Hischier as Deputy Manager, and the planning of version 3 was initiated, while at the same time publishing additional data and corrections in the versions 2.1 and 2.2.

1999 - 2007

ecoinvent version 1.1 to 1.3

The first steps for the ecoinvent project were taken during the late 1990ties.


The individual projects for data harmonisation and compilation were funded by the Swiss Federal Roads Authority (FEDRO - ASTRA), the Swiss Federal Office for Construction and Logistics (BBL), the Swiss Federal Office for Energy (SFOE - BFE), the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG - BLW), and the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape (FOEN - BUWAL).


The database software development was funded by the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories and the salary for the project management by Empa and the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories.

After the successful launch of ecoinvent data version 1.01 in 2003, the work concentrated on an extension and revision of the contents resulting in the release of version 2.0 in 2007.

1992 - 1999

The Beginnings

In the last decade, several different databases for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) have been developed in Switzerland within the ETH Domain and other Swiss Federal institutions.

Up to the late nineties, several public Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) databases existed in Switzerland, partly covering the same economic sectors. These databases were developed by different institutes and organisations. Life cycle inventory data for a particular material or activity available from these databases often did not coincide and therefore the outcome of an LCA were (also) dependent on the institute working on it. Furthermore, the efforts required to maintain and update comprehensive and high quality LCA-databases are beyond the capacity of any individual institute.

At the same time, LCA received more and more attention by industry and authorities as one important tool for e.g., Integrated Product Policy, Technology Assessment, or Design for the Environment. In parallel with this increasing trend in LCA applications, the demand for high quality, reliable, transparent, independent and consistent LCA data increased as well.