Process-based life cycle assessment is an important tool for understanding the potential environmental impacts of a priority process or product over its life cycle, but process-based data are not available for all activities in the economy in a consistent tool. To understand life cycle impacts of entire industries and commodities in the economy, environmental data must be coupled with economic models.
ERG helped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency develop the environmental release information for the U.S. Environmentally-Extended Input-Output (USEEIO) model. This model uses a life cycle approach to identify high-level impacts of sectors in the U.S. economy across the full supply chain. Impact categories relate to environmental impact potential (including greenhouse gases), resource use, waste generated, and economic and social considerations. The USEEIO model serves as an engine behind EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Prioritization Tools—interfaces that deliver impact results for supply chains of purchased goods and services from national (e.g., governments, academic institutions) or organizational (e.g., CEOs, procurement and sustainability professionals) perspectives. The USEEIO model also supports organizational scope 3 GHG accounting, given its coverage of all sectors in the economy.