Our Mission, Vision and Approach

The Life Cycle Initiative, hosted by UNEP, promotes Life Cycle knowledge, which reveals the unintended trade-offs between the social, environmental, and economic impacts of circular approaches. This makes Life Cycle thinking essential for decision-making to foster progress towards sustainable production and consumption patterns. To achieve this, the initiative works to build international consensus and access to science-based life cycle knowledge and to improve the application of life cycle knowledge by private and public decision makers with (policy) advice and capacity building. The Initiative is focusing its work on high-impact sectors. The Initiative is a multi-stakeholder partnership (including governments, businesses, scientific and civil society organizations) and launched in 2002 by UNEP and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC).


The Life Cycle Initiative is a public-private, multi-stakeholder partnership promoting progress towards the achievement of Agenda 2030 through (1) advancing the understanding, adoption and application of life cycle thinking by private and public decision makers; and (2) building consensus on and facilitating the access to environmental, social and economic life cycle knowledge (LCA data, methods, indicators, etc.).


The Life Cycle Initiative promotes partnerships to achieve Agenda 2030 faster and more efficiently by bringing Life Cycle Thinking to decision makers with the practical knowledge and tools to enhance the sustainability of their decisions.

Strategic approach 2022-2027

The main focus is to enhance the impact of the Life Cycle Initiative, knowledge base and network with the power of advocacy and engagement. This requires an expansion of the role of the Initiative, from providing expert advice on and facilitating Life Cycle knowledge to that of a strategic advocate. The Initiative will achieve this role expansion by identifying and addressing high-impact sectors defined by the UNEP Mid Term Strategy 2022-2025, including key SMEs, as a basis for developing detailed sector-specific and impact-specific advocacy strategies.

Theory of Change of the Life Cycle Initiative

By 2027, the Life Cycle Initiative will achieve the following outputs:

  1. Mainstream the use of Life Cycle Thinking, by countries and private sector partners of UNEP, into at least four high-impact intergovernmental or sector-specific processes for global sustainable development.
  2. Develop the capacity for effective use of Life Cycle Knowledge in decisions and policies towards sustainable development in at least five high-impact sectors and ten priority countries.
  3. Increase by ten times the access of high-impact sectors, measured by queries on LCA databases, which are available globally in an interoperable way.