As the head of sustainability, you understand the importance of conducting life cycle assessments (LCAs) to measure the environmental impact of your products or services. However, with numerous software options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when selecting an LCA software and explain why Earthster stands out among the competition.

First: understand your problem

Before choosing the right tool, you need to think about how you and your company will be using LCA. Some tools will corner you, and only let you do LCA "the old fashion way". Some will encourage you (or even force you) to do LCA in more modern ways. You need to be aware before making a decision.

Let's look at some questions that are worth answering.

  • What scale do you need? Will you be doing one-off analyses, or trying to have LCA results for several related products? How much do you expect to reuse data? Do you have datasets that you can use in bulk? Sure, if the software allows.
  • Who will be using the tool? Do your staff know LCA already? Do those people understand LCA, or only your domain? How long will it take to learn the new tool? Do you prefer isolated operation of the LCA tools, or having more people participate? Sure, if the software allows.
  • What will you do with the LCA results? What will the output of your LCA studies be? Will you want certification, or third party validation? Will you share these results with customers? Will you adjust results based on context? Sure, if the software allows.

Make sure you don't get cornered. As you can see, the same tool can be great for one purpose, and completely defeat your purpose in another. And in some cases, in a software your plans may be possible, but incredibly difficult or inefficient. A first step in choosing a good LCA software is to understand what you can do with LCA, and what you want to do with LCA. Otherwise, you could find yourself limited by your choice, without realizing it!

What to consider when choosing the right LCA software

Let's assume you've narrowed down your choice to some alternatives that will not limit you in your plans. Now what? When it comes to choosing the right LCA software, several factors should be considered.

Functionality and features. It is essential to evaluate the functionality and features offered by different LCA software options. Consider your organization's specific requirements and ensure that the software can fulfill them effectively. Will you be using parameters? Which impact assessment methods will you be using? Do you need to do Monte Carlo analyzes? Do you need to get LCA information from suppliers? Do you need to be able to collaborate on projects?

User-friendliness. Look for software that is intuitive and easy to navigate. A user-friendly interface will streamline the LCA process and make it accessible to various team members. In particular, look for user-friendliness in the generation of LCA models, and in searching for data and using the information. Also consider who (in addition to experts) the software needs to be friendly to.

Data collection and analysis. The software should provide robust capabilities for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data. Look for features that allow you to input and manipulate data efficiently. Does the software allow you to replicate and reuse that data? Does the software import or collect the data for you?

Compatibility. Ensure that the software is compatible with your existing systems and can seamlessly integrate with other sustainability tools or platforms that you use. It's very easy for LCA data to end up siloed, with long reports as the only interface to the outside world.

Technical support and training. Consider the availability and quality of technical support and training provided by the software vendor. This will be crucial when it comes to troubleshooting issues, getting up to speed with the software, or even custom development for your case.

Software Comparison Analysis

Before making a decision, conducting a thorough software comparison analysis is crucial. Here are some key aspects to consider during your evaluation:

  • Accuracy and Reliability: Look for software that has a proven track record of delivering accurate and reliable results. Check for certifications and industry recognition to validate the software's credibility.
  • Customizability: Evaluate the software's flexibility in adapting to your unique requirements. Customizability allows you to tailor the LCA process to align with your organization's specific goals and metrics.
  • Usability: Consider how the onboarding process will be, and how eager users will be to use the software, not and tomorrow. Bear in mind also third parties that may have to interact with the tool, like customers or verifiers.
  • Data: What data does the software include? Will you have to pay extra for basic data you might need to begin with? Do you have access to free data?
  • Cost: Compare the pricing models of different LCA software options. Assess whether the software offers a one-time payment or subscription-based model and determine which aligns best with your budget.
  • Integration: Consider how well the software integrates with other tools and systems you currently use. Smooth integration improves efficiency and ensures data flows seamlessly between different platforms.
  • Lock-in: Look for in which ways your data may be limited after adopting the LCA software. Does it follow open formats? Does the company guarantee full data extraction? Does it allow API access from other tools?
  • Future-proof: Consider whether the software can accommodate your organization's future growth and evolving sustainability needs, and how fast does the software roll out new features. Scalability is vital to ensure software remains a valuable investment in the long run.

Why Earthster stands out as the best LCA software

Out of the various LCA software options available, Earthster stands out as a top choice for the head of sustainability.

The best usability and learnability in the market

Earthster's intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate and use, even for individuals with minimal expertise in LCA. It simplifies the LCA process and encourages collaboration among team members.

When people think of LCA tools, they often only consider experts using those tools. But when they see Earthster's user interface, they realize they can involve sales, management or procurement in the discussion about sustainability.

But where it really shines is when it comes to LCA practitioners. Old-timers will find themselves flying with the tool in less than half an hour, and newcomers will be able to pick LCA up with a software that holds their hand.

Comprehensive functionality, for now and the future

We started Earthster to bring LCA to new levels. Because of that, you find features in Earthster that you don't find anywhere else (real-time calculations, interactive results sharing, full-scale data collection, etc). And you also find the useful tried-and-true features that we loved from our LCA software 10 years ago. All on top of ISO-compliant LCA.

But the most important value you get is engagement. We're a young and hungry company, and we listen carefully to our users. Every quarter we deliver new and amazing features, to push the boundaries of LCA.

But it's also future proof: with a full-fledged API, Earthster is designed to seamlessly integrate with other sustainability tools and platforms, ensuring smooth data transfer and compatibility with your existing systems. And through our template-based LCA at scale, you can have thousands of LCAs in a few months.

Outstanding support

Earthster offers exceptional technical support and training resources. Their knowledgeable team is readily available to assist you with any issues or questions that may arise during the LCA process.

By choosing Earthster as your LCA software, you can effectively measure and manage your organization's environmental impact, leading to more sustainable practices and informed decision-making.

Life Cycle Assessment Software

When it comes to life cycle assessment software, Earthster emerges as the ideal choice for the sustainability function. With its comprehensive functionality, user-friendly interface, robust data collection and analysis tools, compatibility, and outstanding support, Earthster is a safe choice for your LCA needs. By selecting Earthster, you can confidently conduct accurate and reliable LCAs, leading to a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious organization.

Do you want to know more about Earthster, and how it stands out from other LCA software in terms of scale and usability? Book a demo