Document Type


Publication Date



Working Paper 6


A streamlined life-cycle assessment (SLCA) is typically performed at the scale of the completed product. One could also, however, perform SLCAs on components or subsystems (moving down in scale) or on all a corporation’s products (moving up in scale). By analogy with biological ecology, it seems likely that analyses at different scales would ask different questions and reveal different insights. In this study, multiscale streamlined LCA (SLCA) is explored by comparing results for high-performance aircraft at the subsystem, product, and corporate levels. The results clearly show that SLCA results differ substantially among the major subsystems of a complex product in ways not derivable from a systems-level SLCA, and that results at different levels tend to serve different corporate users. Similar benefits are obtained when comparing results for a single product with those for several corporate products.Thus, considerable advantage is likely to result from the performance of multiscale life-cycle analyses.