Critical review

By Ann-Christin Pålsson

A critical review can be performed to verify that the study has been performed in a consistent manner, and that the interpretation of results reflects the limitations and goal of the study.

The critical review process shall ensure that (based on ISO 14044):

  • the methods used in the study is consistent with the requirements in the ISO 14040 series of standard
  • and the methods used are technically and scientifically valid
  • the data used are appropriate and reasonable in relation to the goal of the study
  • the interpretations reflect the limitations and the goal of the study
  • the study report is transparent and consistent

If a critical review is to be performed in the study, this shall be defined as part of the scope phase of the study. The review should be defined in terms of type of review process to be used and the scope for the review. This will also facilitate the preparations for the review from the different phases  of the work.

Critical review processes

In principle, there are two main types of critical review processes (based on ISO 14044)

  • Critical review by internal or external expert
  • Critical review by a panel of interested parties

In both cases the person or persons performing the review should be independent from the study, and not be involved in the practical work in the different phases of the LCA. Also, the results from the review should be included as part of the documentation and reporting of the study.

When the review is performed by a panel of interested parties; the panel should consist of at least three members. The commissioner should appoint a chair for the panel, and the members of the panel can include technical experts and interested parties that are affected by the results of the study, for example non-governmental groups, competitors, etc. This type of review is required if the study is intended to support comparative assertion intended to be disclosed to the public.