Life cycle-oriented sustainability assessment

Sustainable development became a global goal at the latest with the definition and implementation of Agenda 2030 formulated by the United Nations and the associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our research focuses on the use and further development of methods for sustainability assessment in connection with waste management. Only by considering the entire life cycle can it be shown in which life phase of a product - from raw material extraction to the end-of-life - the greatest environmental impacts, costs and social effects occur. Measures to improve environmental performance can thus be evaluated in a targeted manner and implemented efficiently.

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method is used at ABF-BOKU for the ecological assessment of technical innovations and new concepts (of waste, materials and products). Within the framework of practice-oriented projects, methods for economic assessment (e.g. Life Cycle Costing) are also used, further developed or adapted accordingly. The focus is on specific waste management issues that go beyond classical product life cycle analysis. Material flow and process analyses are prepared for the evaluation of waste management systems and different benchmarking methods are used.

Dipl.-Ing. Gudrun Obersteiner
Dipl.-Ing. Mag.Beigl Peter

lead publication

  • Scherhaufer, S., Moates, G., Hartikainen, H., Waldron, K., & Obersteiner, G. (2018). Environmental impacts of food waste in Europe. Waste Management, 77, 98-113. doi:

  • Pertl, A; Mostbauer, P; Obersteiner, G (2010): Climate balance of biogas upgrading systems.Waste Manag. 2010; 30(1):92-99
  • Obersteiner G., Binner E., Mostbauer P, Salhofer S.P. (2007): Landfill Modelling in LCA - a contribution based on empiric data. WASTE MANAGE, 27, S58-S74; ISSN 0956-053X
  • SecureChain

SecureChain (2015 - 2017, funded by Horizon 2020, Grant Agreement no. 646457) dealt with bioenergy and sustainable raw material supply and aimed at the expansion of sustainable bioenergy value chains in rural areas. ABF-BOKU led the work package on the assessment of the sustainability of these value chains. A final report is available at

Contact: DI (FH) Silvia Scherhaufer