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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the method that enables to analize and evaluate potential environmental (sometimes including socio-economic) impacts along the Life Cycle, applicable to products, services and organizations. Thus LCA provides an evaluation in form of a set of metrics of a past, current or future status of potential environmental and/or socio-economic impacts caused by the object (product, service or organization) under study.
Life Cycle Management (LCM) is a management approach, that aims to systematically reduce and avoid environmental impacts along the life cycle, which uses the metrics of LCA to prioritize action and trace progress. There is currently no ISO standard on Life Cycle Management as there is for Quality Management or Environmental Management, but understanding LCM as a management tool allows to follow the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, known from management systems.
So what’s the difference and the link? LCM includes taking action (PDCA), while LCA provides information, that can be used for LCM, in order to Plan where to start or to focus and in order to Check, if the “Do” has created the intended progress / improvement.