Ecosystem services (ES) are beneficial inputs to the well-being of people and also drivers of technological development. The value of (or pressure on the supply of) ES in the well-established Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method is usually measured by only considering a few ‘provisional’ services (e.g. fossil fuels, wooden resources, renewable energy, minerals, freshwater, land use, taxa, etc.).
Some recently developed Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) models have proposed to harmonize land use inventories with impact indicators to assess the effect of land use activities on a limited number of ‘regulating and maintenance’ services (e.g. freshwater, climate and erosion regulation, water purification, etc.).
Despite this valuable advance, end-point costs or damages to natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem health do still not systematically cover the evaluation of ES. Moreover, approaches to assess the effects to ecosystem functionality and its relation to ES supply and pressure remain fragmented in LCIA. Hence, it is evident that current end-point damage LCIA models with regard to natural resources and ecosystem health should comprehensively cover the evaluation of several ecosystem services.
VALUES contributes to address this methodological gap.