This paper is co-authored by ecoinvent experts Antonio Valente, Carl Vadenbo, Simone Fazio, Thomas Sonderegger, and six other collaborators.


In the mission to advance Life Cycle Assessment, the accessibility and interoperability of data remain paramount. The Global LCA Data Access (GLAD) network, a collaborative effort within the Life Cycle Initiative (hosted by United Nations Environmental Programme), has been pivotal in addressing these challenges. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the GLAD Nomenclature Working Group’s (NWG) methodology for mapping elementary flows among major nomenclature systems, including those used in ecoinvent, Environmental Footprint, IDEA, and the U.S. Federal LCA Commons. Led by our team members, the NWG developed a robust procedure and criteria for these mappings, emphasizing the importance of multilateral agreement and iterative reviews.


Key highlights from the paper include:

  • Methodology: Detailed process involving flow and compartment matches, supported by the “GLAD Mapper Tool.”
  • Results: Achieving high coverage (>90%) across nomenclature systems, with emphasis on substance uniqueness and environmental compartment granularity.
  • Insights: Importance of approximated matches for enhanced interoperability.
  • Conclusions: A significant step towards a unified nomenclature system, fostering greater interoperability, accessibility, and traceability in LCA data.


This work underscores our commitment to openness and collaboration and signifies a crucial advancement in the global LCA community. By promoting interoperability and data accessibility, we pave the way for a more sustainable future.

Read the full paper here