Data Aggregation Diagrams

In 2011, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) collaborated, through the International Life Cycle Initiative, to publish technical guidance for the collection of data related to the environmental impacts of industrial supply chains, otherwise known as life cycle inventory (LCI) data. TRUTHstudio was asked to create diagrams to visually explain the variety of types of aggregation and averaging that may occur during data collection, with a particular emphasis on explaining different combinations of vertical aggregation and horizontal averaging. The diagrams are included in Chapter 3 of the guidance document


download full guidance document

Environmental supply chain data is collected at the 'unit process' (e.g., facility) level. This example shows an industrial supply that has three steps (e.g. 1. mining; 2. processing; 3. distribution). Data is collected for three supply chains (1-2-3; 1'-2'-3'; 1''-2''-3''). The diagram shows how data can be horizontally averaged (by process) or vertically aggregated (by supply chain).


The UNEP/SETAC has developed naming conventions to describe the twelve basic ways that data can be aggregated before inclusion in databases. This diagram provides a visual explanation of these twelve naming conventions.