Working Group on Product System Algorithms

This Working Group is composed of system experts that voluntarily maintain and improve the algorithms – calculation rules – that are used to calculate product “footprints” from the original unlinked unit process data.

Initially, the Working Group will describe the algorithms used by existing LCA/footprint databases, notably ecoinvent, and will re-engineer these as open source algorithms for implementation with the BONSAI database.

The working group is responsible for improving and maintaining the existing algorithms, based on the best scientific knowledge, ensuring for example that the calculations result in mass-balanced systems, fully compliant with the ISO norms, providing comparable “footprints”, showing the impacts per additional unit of product consumed. BONSAI will thus ensure a science-based corrective to the disparate and inconsistent procedures found in current popular guidelines for product footprinting.

The working group is also responsible for adding new algorithms, for example to improve the interaction between global and local datasets, the interaction between datasets for different time periods, the propagation of uncertainty, the propagation of product properties, the temporal linking of waste treatment datasets, the handling of temporal delays in impact pathways, the use of geographically specific impact assessment data, and the procedures for generating data for future scenarios.

This Working Group is expected to be composed of developers from the existing LCA/footprint databases and softwares.