Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an essential practice for the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) industry to use when developing products that use materials, manufacturing processes and energy resources more efficiently and drive towards being a sustainable entity. Additionally, stakeholders and public policy makers have begun setting expectations and requirements for LCA in the development of broad industry-based methodologies and standards. A major inhibitor in using LCA is the lack of sufficient and current environmental data for the processes and materials employed in the rapidly evolving high technology of ICT products. Furthermore, ICT products are composed of hundreds or even thousands of separate components from a multitude of suppliers. This can make the collection of environmental data and LCA-based information extremely complex.

The iNEMI (International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative) Eco-Impact Evaluator for ICT Equipment Project is developing a workable simplified design tool that could be used to more efficiently evaluate and produce environmental impact information for ICT products. A key part of this project is the assessment of data needs for use in the development of a simplified LCA-based tool for the ICT industry.

This paper provides an overview of the development of this simplified tool and the mechanisms for prioritizing and collecting pertinent data for the tool. Information will also be presented on the evaluation of possible mechanisms for providing efficient data collection from key suppliers to fill current data gaps and also provide a future mechanism for data refresh and updates.

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