Methodology of ecoinvent 3

ecoinvent version 3 is based on a new methodology. The data quality guidelines provide an introduction to ecoinvent 3 for Life Cycle Inventories, the applied LCA methodology, and the general structure of the database.

System models

Version 3 is more than a regular update. With the new version, ecoinvent is now the only major database supporting three system models: Cut-off, Allocation at the Point Of Substitution (APOS) and Consequential.


The new, extended ecoSpold2 format gives the possibility to present the information in an organised and transparent way using features such as parametersproperties and mathematical formulas. 


With the introduction of market activities, users can now choose between average and marginal suppliers according to the system model.

Data Quality Guidelines

This report contains the adapted and extended quality guidelines for ecoinvent version 3. It was established to ensure a coherent data acquisition and reporting across the various activity areas and data providers involved.


The data quality guidelines include definitions of the different types of datasets, the level of detail required, how completeness is ensured, good practice for documentation, naming conventions, and rules for the reporting of uncertainty. In addition, this document covers also the procedures for validation, review, and embedding new datasets into the database as well as the calculation procedures for attributional and consequential models, and for arriving at the accumulated results for product systems.


Data Quality Guidelines

Learn more about ecoinvent version 3

Read more about the new methodology in chapter 2 of the Data Quality Guidelines. Browse through the website to learn more about the benefits, the main methodological choices and the differences between version 2 and version 3.