ELCD, the European life cycle database

The European reference Life Cycle Database (ELCD) is a database established by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and integrated in the SimaPro LCA Software.

The European reference Life Cycle Database

The JRC started the European Platform on Life Cycle Assessment (EPLCA) with the aim to increase the availability of quality-assured life-cycle data, methods and assessments.

The EPLCA develops both the ELCD database and the International reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook, a series of technical guidance documents that provide guidelines for good practice in LCA  in business and government.

The JRC has started the process of reviewing the quality of the ELCD database entries against the ILCD Handbook’s Entry-Level requirements, to ensure consistency and reliability of the data. Several fully reviewed datasets have been made available in version 3, and the process of reviewing is ongoing.

Working with the database

The ELCD is suitable for cradle-to-grave LCA studies. The database also supports Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) standards, making it relevant for users who want to conduct PEF/OEF-compliant studies.


  • All datasets are carefully selected, of high quality and in line with ISO 14040 and 14044.
  • The ELCD database emphasizes consistency and quality. The requirements for data follow the guidelines from the ILCD handbook.
  • The datasets are implemented in SimaPro and can be used free of charge by SimaPro users.

Database content

The ELCD v3 database contains more than 500 datasets with data from industries such as the chemical and metal industry. It also includes data on energy production, transport and end-of-life processes. The datasets are provided and approved by their respective industry associations.

About the developers

The database was developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. Data is provided by PE International and industry associations such as World Steel and Plastics Europe.


Working with PRé proved to be a very productive partnership. The communication during the project was very open and all of our needs were met. The tool that was created specifically for Steelcase will make the LCA process much more streamlined and consistent for years to come.

Massimo Collotta - Environmental Engineer, Global Sustainability at Steelcase

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