The Global LCA Data Access Network [GLAD] gathers life-cycle dataset providers and other stakeholders who aim to improve sustainability-related decisions through enhanced, interoperable, and global access to LCA datasets.


Hosted by the UN Environmental Programme under the Life Cycle Initiative, the “Global LCA Data Access” network [GLAD] aims to achieve better data accessibility and interoperability. The GLAD network comprises independently operated LCA databases, also called nodes, providing users with an interface to find and access life cycle inventory datasets from different sources. The data providers connected to GLAD include several national database initiatives, critical industry/sector-specific databases, and the primary background LCA databases.


The continuous development of GLAD is supported by the Technical Management Group as well as ad-hoc working groups on nomenclature, metadata descriptors, and network architecture and technology.


The ecoinvent association has supported GLAD since its conception and is actively engaged as a member of the Technical Management Group and the Working Groups. The ecoinvent database [version 3.6] has been connected to the GLAD network since June 2020.


GLAD EF Mapping Project

Besides the participation of the ecoinvent database in the GLAD network, the ecoinvent association is proud to have contributed to the further development of GLAD through our involvement in the ‘GLAD EF Mapping’ project.


Incomplete and inconsistent conversions between the different data exchange formats used in LCA pose a crucial challenge for data interoperability. This project was initiated by the working group on nomenclature [WG1] of the Global LCA Data Access [GLAD] network in 2020 to develop a standard system to map the nomenclature lists for elementary flows [EFs] between databases connected to GLAD. As such, the project activities establish a foundation for more consistent data exchange format conversion.


Commissioned by UNEP, with financial support from the REAL initiative of the European Commission and internal resources from the Life Cycle Initiative, the project was implemented by the ecoinvent association from October 2020 to July 2021. Working with representatives from the U.S. Federal LCA Commons, the Inventory Database for Environmental Analysis [IDEA] of Japan, and the International Reference Life Cycle Data System [ILCD]/Life Cycle Data Network [LCDN] of the European Commission, this project also aimed to bridge the gaps between these four major LCA database systems.


Project Outputs

This project resulted in the GLAD nomenclature resource package, which has been available on the GitHub repository of the UN Environment Programme since May 2022.


The repository includes elementary flow lists, mapping files, guidance for developers of data format exchange converters, and documentation of standard mapping issues and proposed solutions. Data users are welcome to consult and contribute to the repository.