User manual for CPM LCA Database website

Revision 2008-02-20



LCI data - Start page

The starting LCI data page provides options on what LCI datasets should be shown.


These are three predefined categories of LCI datasets. By clicking the links the corresponding list of datasets are shown.



This is a search tool that allows a more precise search for specific LCI datasets. When the "Search processes" button is clicked the tool checks the database for LCI datasets matching the specifications and a list of the result is shown. The headings are concepts from the ISO/TS 14048 LCA data documentation format.



Name like
 - match if some part of a process name is equal to the entered text. "Unrestricted" means that the search will not be restricted by process name.

Class - match only datasets defined as beloning to selected class sector.  "Unrestricted" means that the search will not be restricted by class name.

Transport/Other process - select if only transport or other processes should be matched. If both checkboxes are checked then both transports and other processes are matched.

Technical scope - match only datasets defined as having a matching scope. "Unrestricted" means that the search will not be restricted by technical scope.

Inputs and outputs

- Select if a specific type of input or output must be defined in the dataset "Unrestricted" means that the search will not be restricted by inputs and outputs group.

Apply restrictions to inputs/output - select if the group should apply to an in- or outputs. If both are checked no restriction is made.

Name like - matches any input or output with some part of its name is equal to the entered text. "Unrestricted" means that the search will not be restricted by the names of the inputs and outputs.

 - a name of the input or output can be selected from the database nomenclature. Only inputs and outputs with the exact name are matched. "Unrestricted" means that the search will not be restricted by the names of the inputs and outputs.



LCI data - Query result page

Here the LCI datasets that match the search criteria on the startpage are listed. The dataset reports can be viewed and downloaded either as:

The SPINE html and the ISO/TS html reports are shown directly in your browser. To save the reports to your computer use the Save functionality of your browser. In Windows Internet Explorer open the "File" menu and click on "Save As..." then choose where you want to save the report.


When clicking on SPINE XFR option you are given an option to either to open the XFR file or save it to your computer. You can open the XFR files directly in a text editor or viewer such as Notepad, WordPad, MS Word or Internet Explorer or save it to your computer first.

The rightmost column CPM Quality is an indication of the conformance of the dataset with the CPM Data Quality Criteria where S=Sufficient, A=Acceptable, and U=Unsatisfying.



SPINE data documentation fields

Please refer to the SPINE format report.


ISO/TS 14048 data documentation fields

A brief description of the ISO/TS 14048 fields are given here. For the original ISO text document please refer to

A process documentation according to ISO/TS 14048 consists of:

For more detailed information about the fields, see ISO/TS 14048:2002.


The set of data fields named "Process" holds data and documentation that describe the properties of the modelled process, including documentation of the technical details and its quantitative parameters, together with a description of the relevant circumstances for which the model is valid. The process consists of two parts, "Process description" and "Inputs and outputs".


Process description

The "Process description" provides a description of the technical system, e.g. what is included in the system, the quantitative reference e.g. functional unit or reference flow, etc. The technical system is described by the following data fields or set of data fields;

Name, Class (set of data fields), Quantitative reference (set of data fields), Technical scope, Aggregation type, Technology (set of data fields), Valid time span (set of data fields), Valid geography (set of data fields) and Data acquisition (set of data fields).



A descriptive and most prevalent name of the process. The name should give a first indication on what the technical system describes.


The class is the sector to which the system belongs. The class is described in two data fields:

·        Name (can be chosen from a list of classes)

·        Reference to nomenclature (specification of the nomenclature from which the Name is chosen).

A class makes it easy to search and identify the data. Compared to a name a class gives an unambiguous structure.


Example: Manufacturing – machinery and equipment, Agriculture, Air transport, Energyware etc.


Quantitative reference

A description of the quantitative reference for the process. A quantitative reference is the reference to which the amount of the inputs and outputs relate and it could for example be functional unit or reference flow. The quantitative reference is described by a set of data fields:

·        Type

·        Name

·        Unit

·        Amount

Type is e.g. "Reference flow of process" and in the other three the amount, unit and name of the reference is described e.g. 1 kg polyethylene.


Technical scope

A short description of the type or the scope of the technical system. A nomenclature is used to specify the scope e.g. cradle-to-gate or cradle-to-grave.



Technology contains a description of the technical system. The description is made by a short description in data field Short technology descriptor and in detail in field Technical content and functionality. The description of the system can also be supplemented with a graphical picture Technology picture. The description of the technical system should be as thoroughly described as possible to provide the user with an understanding of the process and how the input flows are related to output flows in the described technical system.


Short technology descriptor

A short description of the included technology.


Technical content and functionality

A detailed description of the technical system. The description of the technical system should be as thorough as possible. It should enable an identification of technology that may have a large influence on e.g. emissions, energy consumption etc. The description should provide an understanding on how reported inputs are transformed into the reported outputs. All process steps that are included in the system should be described, e.g. administration, internal recycling loops, preparation, sewage treatment, scrubber technology etc.


Operating conditions

Description of different operational conditions for the process, that have an influence on entire sets of measurements or individual measurements. Operating conditions can e.g. be relations between inputs and outputs which also can be described as a mathematical formula in the documentation field “Mathematical model”.


Example: “Operation conditions were normally for all of the included processes, except process X where only 70% of the normal operating conditions where utilised.”


Mathematical model

Mathematical model is set of data fields where the operating conditions may be documented for mathematically modelled processes, i.e. through a mathematical model of the relations between inputs and outputs. Additionally it can include the relation between different transports and other data sets in an aggregated system. For example 50 km transport by train and 20 km by plane, a mathematical formula is needed to describe and calculate the emissions from the aggregated system if emissions/km is known for each transport. The data fields used to describe this are:

·        Formulae

·        Name of variable

·        Value of variable


Example:         Formulae: 2*A+3.35*B =C

            Name of variable: A= data from the data set “Average rail         transport in Sweden, 30 trucks”, B= data from the data set “Jet         plane BXXX 600km”

            Value of variable: see each data set, available in the database.


Valid time span

A description of the time span during which the model of the process may be valid.


The valid time span is generally identical to the time of the data collection. Examples of limitations in time for the validity of the data may be future known technology shifts, planned measurements improvements, major changes in society or specific seasons. The range of the valid time span for the data is described through the data fields:

·        Start date

·        End date

·        Time-span description

It should be noted that the valid time span is not the time of publication of the data.


Example:         Start date: 2002-01-01

End date: 2005-01-01

Time-span description: The process data is valid for three years due to climate change.


Valid geography

The geographical area or location for which the data is valid is described in valid geography. If no extrapolations from other areas have been performed the valid geography is the area or location of the data collection. This gives information about geographical extension or geographical limitations of the studied process or system. The data fields describing the geography were the data is valid, are:

·        Area name

·        Area description

·        Sites

·        GIS (Geographical Information System)


Example:         Area name: Europe

Area description: Probably most producers in European Community countries are represented for the forming of data.

                        Sites: No specific sites are revealed.

                        GIS: -


Process - Inputs and outputs

Each input or output that enters or leaves the process is specified by the identification number, the direction and the group, the substance name, and the amount per quantitative reference. The origin or the destination of each flow is specified by the receiving environment, which can be specified in detail through a receiving environment specification, and the geographical location.


Please note that the documentation valid for all inputs and outputs is found at the bottom of the page.


Id - Identification number

Specific number identifying the input or output.



The direction of the input or output i.e. output from the system or input to the system.



The group to which the inputs and outputs belong. There is a nomenclature developed within CPM for the specification of group. Group is connected to inputs and outputs examples of groups are emissions (output), raw material (input), product (output), co-product (output), refine resource (input) etc.


Receiving environment

For non-elementary inputs and outputs the receiving environment is Technosphere, which indicates that the input or output connects to another process. For elementary inputs or outputs the receiving environment is described by the type of environment that an emission is let out to e.g. water, air or ground. Additionally it could be the type of environment that a resource is extracted from e.g. ground.


An exclusive nomenclature for this purpose has been developed within CPM, which has also been included in the ISO/TS 14048 document.


Receiving environment specification

Further description of the conditions of the environment the input or output originate from when entering or end up in when leaving the technical system. This may improve the understanding of the inputs or outputs.


Geographical location

Information about the geographical location where processes, inputs and outputs occur. The description is useful since the environment has different sensitivity to different combinations and amounts of inputs and outputs, at different geographical locations. A nomenclature for this purpose has been developed within CPM.


Related external system

Information of related external systems of an input or output, e.g. to identify upstream and downstream processes not included in the described process. For example, the name and location of a supplier of raw material or the type of plan receiving the wastewater can be given. This information may be useful for the data user e.g. calculations about the impact of suppliers or transports can be performed. The documentation of related external systems can be described by the following three data fields:

·        Origin or destination

·        Transport type

·        Information reference


In Origin or destination the delivering or receiving processes for intermediate product flows are identified e.g. geographical information about the destination media for an output. The data field Transport type, allow information about the name of the transport supplier or the type of transport. In Information reference the contact persons and relevant documents where information on the described related external systems may be found.


Internal location

Information about the use of an input or output within a process and from where an input or output originate, should be described in Internal location. For example the use of steam for a specific application within the process. This information can be described in a free text data field.



The name of the substance of an input or output. The substance needs to be unambiguously named. This is crucial in order for the name to be identified by the data receiver when communication the data. The name can be specified by:

·        Name text

·        Reference to nomenclature

·       Specification of name


Below is a description of each of these.


Name text

The name of the substance is written here. A suggestion for theSubstance nomenclature has been developed within CPM. When introducing new substances in the substance nomenclature, the name should be defined and explained. The following rules should be used when adding a new substance: the name is written in British English with established notation. If two notations can be considered to be equally established, use the shortest. ISO/TS 14048 allow use of different specified nomenclatures, which may contain synonyms.


Reference to nomenclature

The reference to the nomenclature from which the name of the substance is chosen e.g. CAS-numbers or SETAC-nomenclature. When CPM Substance nomenclature is used write: SPINE@CPM 1997 Substance.


Specification of name

Further specification of the name to facilitate the understanding of the name of the substance given in “Name text“ above. Substances may be known under synonym names, e.g. the trade name and the chemical formula. To allow for a proper and easy identification of the substance, known synonym names should be given.



The amount of the input and output, in relation to the quantitative reference e.g. the functional unit is described here. Quantitative information shall be given for each input and output and shall be documented in terms of statistical properties, i.e. the name of the distribution function, unit of the amount, names of parameters of the distribution function and quantitative values on each parameter. This can be described in the following data fields:



Examples of Names are mean, mode, range, point value


Unit – symbol or name

The symbol e.g. kg of the unit.


Unit – explanation

Explanation and/or reference of the unit presented above to help the data user to interpret the data set.


Parameter – name, value

Names of the parameter can for example be maximum value, minimum value, average or standard deviation.


Example:         Name: range

Unit - Symbol or name: kg

Unit - Explanation: SI-unit

Parameter – name: max, min

Parameter – value: 55, 20




In this section description of methods used to acquire the numerical data is documented i.e. metadata. In ISO/TS 14048 data documentation format “Documentation” is a set of data fields which includes description of relevant aspects of the methods for data collection and data treatment. The data fields are:

·       Data collection

·       Collection date

·       Data treatment

·       Reference to data source

Documentation may be given for a specific individual input or output and/or for a set of inputs and outputs e.g. valid for all inputs and outputs.


Data collection

Data collection includes a short specification summarizing the type of methods that have been used to obtain data.


Examples:        Derived from continuous measurements

                        Modelled from data describing a similar system


                        Derived, specified

                        Derived, unspecified


For example “Derived, unspecified” can be used when the data was derived using data from different literature sources and the numerical basis for the data was not specified in the source that was used.


Collection date

The date or time during which the data were collected. Collection date should be written as an interval, from start date to end date for the data collection. The following data format should be used: CCYYMMDD/CCYYMMDD.

If only the year is known, write: CCYY0101 and if only the year and month is known, write: CCYYMM01.


Data treatment

The description of the methods, sources and assumptions used to generate numerical data that are presented i.e. inputs and outputs. The description of methods should be thorough enough to enable a check of the calculations, assumptions and other methods that have been performed from the original source. It is very important to describe the methods used during data acquisition in order for the data user to be able to interpret the data.


Literature, personal contacts and other sources that have been used during data acquisition should also be references in Data treatment and then specified in Reference to data source below.


Example 1:

The data that are presented are calculated as an average based on information from two component manufacturers. The information from the manufacturers was acquired using a LCI data questionnaire, see reference.


Example 2:

The general description/data of the plant is taken from the environmental report of 2001 for company X. Information about the scrap delivered to X from XX is achieved from interviews with process manager at X and XX. The substances are divided with the amount of received waste, 300 500 ton in 2001, to represent the amount per functional unit.


Reference to data source

References that have been used in the data acquisition process, and that is referred to in the data fields Data treatment or Data collection. For example literature, personal contacts etc.


Modelling and validation

Modelling and validation describes the prerequisites for the modelling of a process as well as the validation of the resulting model. Information about properties of the process itself is not described here. However the choices made during the modelling of a process are documented here, e.g. which principles to use and what assumptions and exclusions to make. This documentation is crucial for a data user when interpreting the general quality and relevance of the data. Additional, the specific reason (intended application) why the data have been achieved and documented is important for the data user.


Intended application

Description of an assumed area of application for the data set regarding e.g. geographical, technology or other trade specific applicability. Also, other general cautions and recommendations regarding how data can be used may be given.


Purpose or objective for the study as well as background for the study should also be included.


Information sources, Data quality statement and Validation:


Information sources

Detail information on the sources used for the process may allow the user of data to review the quality of the data and also check the original sources if desired. An unlimited number of information sources e.g. literature, personal communication, databases etc can be given. The information sources should be the one generally used when modelling the process.


Data quality statement

The data quality statement includes a description of quality strengths and weaknesses of the data in the process. Information in form of general description of numerical basis for the data and other qualities, or quality deficiencies in the overall documentation of a process, regarding how representative the process data is, is also included. A quality analysis made by the data generator of how uniform the study methodology is applied to the various components of the study, is considered.


Validation Method

Detailed description of all validation processes that may have been performed on the documented process. The data field Validation - Method includes an explanation of the validation method used. One examples of validation methods used can be mass balance calculations. The validation can be a part of the critical review of a LCA study.



Details of the validator or reviewer i.e. the person performing the validation or review. Name, competence, organisation and address of this person should be given. Date for validation may also be included.


Modelling choices

Modelling choices describes the choice of system boundaries made for the studied system including exclusion of elementary flows, intermediate product flows as well as allocations and process expansions made. A system boundary is defined by what is communicated between the system and its surroundings.


The description of Modelling choices supports the description of the process in section Process description in ISO/TS 14048.


Criteria for excluding elementary flows

Description of criteria used when choosing which elementary flows e.g. inputs and outputs included. Elementary flows are defined as flows connected to the environmental system e.g. an emission let out through water or air. The description should include the description of the criteria that have been used in the choice of flows and subsystems that has been included in the system i.e. the motive for excluding and including inputs and outputs.


Criteria for excluding intermediate product flows

Description of the selection of intermediate product flows (elementary flows) and why different input and outputs have been excluded in the system. The reasons why certain elementary flows have been excluded should also be described e.g. if data is missing. This information is crucial for identifying data gaps in the process etc.


Criteria for externalising processes

The motives for exclusion of technical subsystems are described. The subsystems excluded can also be specified. The reasons why certain subsystems have been excluded should also be included e.g. if data is missing. This information is crucial for the explaining of the technical boundaries of the process.


Allocations performed

Description of allocations that have been performed while modelling the process and to obtain the numerical data that are documented. The co-products that have been allocated as well as an explanation of the performed allocations including allocation methods, procedures and information used in the allocation, can be described in the following data fields:

·        Allocations performed

·        Allocation explanation


If no allocations have been done this should be explicitly stated, e.g. with the text “Not applicable”. The field should not be left empty to facilitate for the user of the data.


Process expansion

Description of process expansions performed, including an explanation of the included systems and the motives and details for the system expansion. This information can be described in the following data fields:

Note that the subsystems included as a result of the system expansion are also described in the process description (data field: Process – Process description – Technology – Process contents).


System expansions are often made in order to model the full effects of change or to avoid allocations. If no system expansions have been done this should be explicitly stated, e.g. with the text “Not applicable”.


Other information

Other relevant information about the process and the data not included in other data documentation fields. For example information about how to use the process, known limitations and assumed area of application of the described process regarding e.g. geographical, technology or other trade specific applicability.


Administrative information

Identification number

A unique identification number for the whole data set given from the registration authority, often the supplier of data.


Registration authority

The organisation responsible for the supply of data.


Version number

The version number can be used to find the latest version of the documentation of a process.


Data commissioner

The person(s) or organisation responsible for the commission of the data collection or updating of the data. The data commissioner is specified by name, mailing address, phone number, fax number and email address. 


Data generator

The person(s) or organisation responsible for the modelling of the information, including interpretation, compilation or updating of the data is named the data generator. The data generator is specified by name, mailing address, phone number, fax number and email address. 


Data documentor and publication


Data documentor

The person documenting the data in the ISO/TS 14048 data format is the data documentor. The data documentor is specified by name, mailing address, phone number, fax number and email address. 



The literature reference to where the study or the data documentation is based on has been published. It could also be the reference to the literature where the original copy of the documentation document can be found.


Data completed

The date when the study or final data were completed and reported. Date completed is not correspond to the time period during which the data was acquired. This information should be written in Meta data documentation valid for all or specific for some inputs and outputs. 



The holder of copyright is written here.


Access restrictions

Indicate how the document may be distributed in terms of conditions and agreements e.g. details on secrecy agreements or restrictions regarding the data.





Impact assessment method documentation

Life Cycle Impact Assessment method are documented in the CPM LCA Database in the SPINE IA98 format, which is based on the concepts and methodology described in ISO 14042. At the start page you can select a method by clicking the corresponding link.


Below is a brief description of the fields of the format.

Impact assessment method

The Impact assessment method is described by the following fields:



A name for the impact assessment method



If the method is updated, the updated versions are given successive version numbers. 


Principal method name

Name of the principal method applied for the work.


Method description

Description of the impact assessment method.


Literature reference

Reference to literature where a full description of the method can be found.


Methodological range

The impact assessment method may have been defined within a specific application, such as for a specific range of impact assessments, within a specific industrial sector, for a range of product types, or to implement a specific policy, or for some geographical, ecological or demographic resolution. A description of the range for which the impact assessment method was defined will help future users to assess and understand the range for the applicability. This description may be provided in only the field Methodological range, to provide geographical, temporal, organisational, political etc. scope considered for the method, or the temporal, demographical or other limitations may be provided in the fields below.



Additional notes on the impact assessment method.


Impact assessment data

The Impact assessment data table shows all substances and their environmental impact together with the relevant characterization method, aspect properties, category indicator, impact indication principle and weighting method. If you click on the column names "Substance Name", "Characterisation Method", or "Category Indicator" the rows will be ordered alphabetically based on the column you clicked.


Substance Name

The name of the substance.


Aspect properties

The properties of aspects in an Life cycle impact assessment method are specified to match inputs and outputs of inventory data, and are hence defined through the following terms:


Property name

A property is identified by a name. Examples:



The value of a property may be, using the above given examples:


Environmental Impact

A breakdown of the calculated environmental impact is shown. The characterisation result is multiplied with the weighting factor.


Characterisation Method

The name of the characterisation method. The Characterisation method is the model that relates an input or an output of an LCI result with a quantification of its environmental impact on a category indicator. Click on the name of the characterisation method to get more information.


Category Indicator

The name of the category indicator. Click on the name of the indicator to get more information.


Impact Indication Principle

The name of the overall principle or policy applied when selecting a set of category indicators, e.g. willingness to pay, distance to target.  Click on the name of the principle to get more information.


Weighting Method

The name of the weighting method. Weighting is a quantitative measure of the relative importance between different impact categories or category indicators. There are different Weighting methods to compile and calculate these relative weights, and each different method results in different sets of relative Weighting factors.  Click on the name of the weighting method to get more information.




Impact assessment calculator

This is a simplified LCA result calculator including Classification, Characterisation, and Weighting. Here you can calculate the environmental impact from an LCI process. In the result you can clearly see how much each flow contributes to the impacts and also what inputs and outputs are exluded from the calculations.


At the calculator start page the impact assessment method to use is selected by clicking the corresponding link.


At the following page all processes and all category indicators of the selected impact assessment method are shown in two lists. Here you can select

Start the calculation by clicking the "Calculate environmental impact" button.

Documentation of the selected impact assessment method can also be viewed by clicking the "View documentation of impact assessment method" button.


Calculation results

The calculated environmental impact based on the selected process and category indicator(s) is presented here.


The calculator matches the aspect properies of characterisation factors with the inputs and outputs of a the process in terms of Name, Direction, Group, Receiving Environment and Geographical location. If any of these properties of the flows or the characterisation factor aspects are denoted as * (wildcard) it means it will match in all cases. If a match is made the calculator attempts to match units if they are different, e.g. mg with kg and adjust the result accordingly. If the flows and characterisation factors differs in physical entities (e.g. mass vs energy or mass vs volume) this unit match will fail and the impact cannot be calculated. The impact will in such cases be set to 0 (zero).


The Impact summary table shows an overview of the total impact of the process on each category indicator and the weighted impact. 

The weighted relative impact column is colour coded to emphasise the indicator(s) that contributes most to the impact:

Note that if the calculated impact is 0 (zero) the impact summary table is not shown. This is most likely due to that no characterisation parameters could be matched with the input and outputs of the selected process.


The Impact assessment result table shows a breakdown on how much each input and output of the process contributes to the impact. All calculations can be viewed by clicking the + sign in the "More info" (rightmost) column.


In some cases an input or output matches a characterisation parameter but there may be a mismatch in units. The calculator has an inbuild unit converter and tries to match e.g. kg with ton or kWh with MJ. If the match fails an error message is shown at the top and the resulting impact is shown as 0 (zero).


The Inputs and outputs of "[process name]" with no matching characterisation parameters table shows all inputs and outputs of the process that are excluded from the calculations as no matching characteriation data was found in the impact assessment method.