Mission & History

ecoinvent is an internationally active, mission-driven organization devoted to supporting high-quality, science-based environmental assessments.

Our activities include publishing and maintaining the ecoinvent database, a comprehensive life cycle inventory database that provides reliable and transparent information on the environmental impacts of various products and services. It is used by companies, researchers, and policymakers to analyze the environmental impact of their operations, make informed decisions, and develop sustainable practices.

The environmental impacts of human activities are more and more visible, and societies worldwide are working towards more sustainable lifestyles. By helping people evaluate and forecast the effects of their choices, science-based assessments are becoming an increasingly essential tool. However, the accuracy and credibility of these assessments rely on the availability of relevant, high-quality data.

The ecoinvent association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the availability of environmental data. We believe that people all around the world should have access to high-quality, affordable data for environmental assessments. To achieve this, we work with and for all societal actors, including policy-makers, private enterprises, NGOs and the academic community.

Our mission

To provide the most robust data-based insights to help customers make essential sustainability decisions.

We compile and review the best available environmental data and publish them in a regularly maintained, transparent Life Cycle Inventory database. We support people working with ecoinvent data and methodologies. We promote good practices in lifecycle-based assessment and in data and database management by participating in environmental and sustainability projects or initiatives.

Person using their phone and laptop to access ecoQuery software.
Our history

ecoinvent was founded by the Swiss research institutions ETH, EPFL, Empa, Agroscope, and the Paul Scherrer Institute.

The goal was to create a comprehensive, consistent, and transparent Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) database for environmental assessments. The organization evolved from a project within the ETH domain to become the ecoinvent Association, a globally trusted entity managing data for environmental assessments over the past 20 years.

 

In the early 1990s, various Swiss organizations collaborated to create public LCI datasets, leading to the BUWAL250 data pool focused on Swiss supply chains. Simultaneously, the demand for reliable LCA data increased, prompting the formation of the ecoinvent project in the late 1990s. The project aimed to establish a forward-looking LCI database with a user-friendly interface, focusing on data harmonization within the ETH domain and supporting Swiss LCA work while also considering European and global contexts.

 

The first version of the ecoinvent database was released in 2003. Subsequent updates and a major revision led to the release of version 2 in 2007, marking ecoinvent as the most widely used LCI database globally. Version 3, released in 2013, aimed to enhance the technological foundation and methodological base for global use, supporting regionalized data and ensuring consistency between different regions. In 2013, ecoinvent became an independent, not-for-profit association, continuing its mission to provide high-quality data for environmental assessments globally and fostering the development of a transparent and trustworthy database for the LCA community.

At ecoinvent, our dedicated team of experts comprises professionals from diverse backgrounds, including environmental science, data management, and life cycle assessment. With decades of collective experience, our team is committed to maintaining the highest standards of quality, transparency, and consistency in environmental data.

 

Their expertise extends globally, supporting the availability of high-quality data for environmental assessments, eco-design tools, decision-makers, industry stakeholders, and scientific research, thereby contributing to a sustainable and informed future.

Meet our team
Our leadership

Roland Hischier
President of the Board
Head of the Advancing Life Cycle Assessment Research Group at Empa

 

Gérard Gaillard
Vice-President of the Board
Head of the Life Cycle Assessment Research Group at Agroscope

 

Véronique Michaud
Member of the Board
Associate Professor, Laboratory for Processing of Advanced Composites at EPFL

Christian Bauer
Member of the Board
Researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institute

 

Stephan Pfister
Member of the Board
Lecturer at the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zürich