Further potentials in the joint implementation of life cycle assessment and data envelopment analysis

Diego Iribarren, Ian Vázquez-Rowe, María Teresa Moreira, Gumersindo Feijoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


The combined application of Life Cycle Assessment and Data Envelopment Analysis has been recently proposed to provide a tool for the comprehensive assessment of the environmental and operational performance of multiple similar entities. Among the acknowledged advantages of LCA+DEA methodology, eco-efficiency verification and avoidance of average inventories are usually highlighted. However, given the novelty of LCA+DEA methods, a high number of additional potentials remain unexplored. In this sense, there are some features that are worth detailing given their wide interest to enhance LCA performance.Emphasis is laid on the improved interpretation of LCA results through the complementary use of DEA with respect to: (i) super-efficiency analysis to facilitate the selection of reference performers, (ii) inter- and intra-assessments of multiple data sets within any specific sector with benchmarking and trend analysis purposes, (iii) integration of an economic dimension in order to enrich sustainability assessments, and (iv) window analysis to evaluate environmental impact efficiency over a certain period of time. Furthermore, the capability of LCA+DEA methodology to be generally implemented in a wide range of scenarios is discussed. These further potentials are explained and demonstrated via the presentation of brief case studies based on real data sets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5265-5272
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA)
  • Eco-efficiency
  • Environmental impact
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Super-efficiency
  • Window analysis


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