First Time Users

First Time Users

What is the structure of the data that ecoinvent offers?

The ecoinvent database offers data structured in different ways: UPR, LCI and LCIA.


The unit process (UPR) is the smallest element considered in the life cycle inventory analysis for which input and output data are quantified (ISO 14040). The database contains data on a unit process level that are in general neither vertically nor horizontally aggregated. However, we try to avoid the separate reporting of unit processes when this does not add any useful information in the LCA context of a background database. Therefore, datasets are often offered as an average for a given region instead of as individual datasets for individual sites.


Individual datasets on the unit process level are linked through the market datasets that represent the consumption mix for a product (M). The linking rules are based on the system model chosen, to produce the cumulative life cycle inventories (LCI). The LCI is the result of the compilation and quantification of inputs and outputs for a product throughout its life cycle (ISO 14040:2006), and it contain only inputs and outputs to and from biosphere and one output to technosphere (the reference product).

Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) is a phase of life cycle assessment aimed at understanding and evaluating the magnitude and significance of the potential environmental impacts for a product system throughout the life cycle of the product (ISO 14040:2006). In practice it means that the individual exchanges present in the cumulative LCI are multiplied by the respective characterisation factor, and the results are summed up into so called indicators (such as IPPC GWP 100a – kg CO2-Eq). Ecoinvent offers LCIA results for a wide range of LCIA methods.