Nickel life cycle data

Providing sound, reliable and up-to-date life cycle inventory data is of great importance for the nickel industry

Updated data ensures that, for example, changes in mining and processing technologies, processed ores and concentrates as well as changes in ore deposits are taken into consideration. Such data are used, for example, in compiling Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs), assessing the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) or preparing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

The nickel industry has been collecting and updating its life cycle data since 2000. Life cycle data were collected for the reference years 1999, 2007, 2011 and – in the most recently published study – for the reference year 2017.

Data is collected in accordance with ISO 14040 requirements and undergoes a critical review process via an independent third party.

Life cycle data are available for major nickel products, i.e. nickel metal class 1, ferro-nickel and nickel sulphate.

The life cycle data collected by the nickel industry can be found in major databases, such as GaBi and ELCD. In addition, the Nickel Institute is in permanent dialogue with other public and commercial database holders to replace outdated nickel product life cycle data.

Given the growing importance of life cycle data for e.g., downstream users, nickel carbon footprint data are also offered by third parties. These data are often estimated, derived from economic models and are not following all ISO 14044 standard requirements. They are neither based on verified inventory data nor undergoing an independent third party review. Such data can be useful to understand in general trends or developments. ISO compliant and verified inventory data should however be the basis for any decisions to be taken.

An executive summary of the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Update for nickel, nickel sulphate and ferronickel, along with a Q&A, is shown hereto. The latest life cycle dataset for nickel products is also available.

The full report is available upon request. Please contact

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