Survey of Impact Categories eUnit Description


This eUnit is suited for both Sustainability Professionals, that are managing an LCA project, and LCA practitioners.

It provides an overview of each category for managers, as well as detailed information on how each category is modeled (environmental mechanisms) for practitioners and managers who want to dive deeper.

In LCA we ultimately want to know how emissions from our activities impact ecosystem and human health, and how our activities are depleting earth's resources: our fossil fuels, metals, water, land etc. To do this, we group potential impacts into areas of concern, impact categories.

The ISO standard require that you select a range of categories that reflects a comprehensive set of environmental issues related to the product system you are studying. So, understanding each of the impact categories is the first step you need to take to ultimately selecting a good range of categories for your study.

Learning Objectives:
  • Define what the various impact categories are measuring;
  • Explain why we care about each category;
  • List the major human activities and emissions affecting each impact category;
  • Explain the environmental mechanisms being modeled with each impact category.

Impact Categories Covered:
  • Respiratory Inorganics;
  • Acidification;
  • Eutrophication;
  • Ozone Depletion;
  • Photochemical Ozone;
  • Climate Change;
  • Toxicity (human and ecotoxicity);
  • Ionizing Radiation;
  • Abiotic Resource Depletion;


Approximate time to complete: 1.5 - 3 hours

Cost: $50/year

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