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Partitioning the input or output flows of a process or a product system between the product system under study and one or more other product systems. Allocations rules are often needed for multifunctionnal products/services. For example: if we consider the environmental footprint of a web-based service, it may be necessary to allocate the environmental burden of datacentres between the analyzed web-based service and other services hosted.

Avoided emissions

Emissions reductions that are indirectly caused by the studied product or a process that occurs in the studied product's life cycle.


Any of two or more functions provided by the same unit process or system.


Any of two or more products coming from the same unit process or system.

Cradle to gate

Approach accounting for all environmental impacts from the extraction of raw materials until a specific stage of the life cycle of the analyzed system (e.g. from the extraction of raw material for IT components production to the gate of a laptop assembly facility).

Cradle to grave

Approach accounting for all environmental impacts from the extraction of raw materials until the end-of-life of the product


Exclusion of specific processes or products in the assessment, usually due to a non-significant contribution of the overall impacts

Data quality analysis

Evaluation of the quality of data used in the assessment, mainly in terms of geographical, technological and temporal representativeness

Environmental impact

Potential impact on the natural environment, human health or the depletion of natural resources, caused by the interventions between the technosphere and the ecosphere as covered by LCA (e.g. emissions, resource extraction, land use)

First order effects

Impacts related to raw materials acquisition, production, use and end-of-life treatment of ICT goods and networks in cities

Functional Unit

Function or service delivered by a product / an organisation, providing a reference to which the inputs and outputs can be related.

Gate to gate

Approach accounting for all environmental impacts related to a specific stage withing the product life cycle (e.g. all processes occuring within the boundary of a given company)


Global Warming Potential


Key Performance Indicator

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

Assessment of potential environmental impacts of a product / an organisation, based on a multicriteria and multistage approach

Life Cycle Inventory (LCI)

Inventory of flows from and to the environment (e.g. inputs of raw materials, energy or releases to air and water), for a given elementary product system.

Offsets / credits

Emission credits (in the form of emission trading or funding of emission-reductions projects) that a company purchases to offset the studied product's inventory results

Organisation environmental accounting

Assessment of potential environmental impacts of an organisation during a given period, based on a multicriteria and multistage approach

Primary data / Specific data

Data coming from the product system, e.g. site-specific activity data

Product environmental assessment

Assessment of potential environmental impacts of a product during its lifetime, based on a multicriteria and multistage approach.

Scope 1 (GHG emissions)

Direct GHG emissions i.e. GHG emissions from GHG sources owned or controlled by the organization

Scope 2 (GHG emissions)

Energy indirect GHG emissions i.e. GHG emissions from the generation of purchased energy, heat or steam consumed by the organization.

Scope 3 (GHG emissions)

Other indirect emissions i.e. GHG emissions other than energy indirect GHG emissions , which are a consequence of an organization's activities but arise from GHG sources that are controlled by other organization e.g. extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, transport-related activities in vehicles not owned or controlled by the analyzed organization, outsourced activities, waste disposal, etc.

Second order effects

Environmental impacts due to the use of ICT in other products or sectors in order to reduce their GHG emissions or energy consumption

Secondary data / Generic data

Data from generic sources, such as databases, publised literature or national inventories

Sensitivity analysis

Systematic procedures for estimating the effects of the choices made regarding methods and data on the outcome of a study

Uncertainty assessment

Systematic procedure to quantify the uncertainty introduced in the results of a life cycle inventory analysis due to the cumulative effects of model imprecision, input uncertainty and data variability

Unit process

Smallest element of a product system for which data are acollected when performing a life cycle assessment

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