An economic input-output life-cycle assessment, or EIO-LCA involves the use of aggregate sector-level data to quantify the amount of environmental impact that can be directly attributed to each sector of the economy and how much each sector purchases from other sectors in producing its output. Combining such data sets can enable accounting for long chains (for example, building an automobile requires energy, but producing energy requires vehicles, and building those vehicles requires energy, etc.), which somewhat alleviates the scoping problem of traditional Life-cycle assessments. EIO-LCA analysis traces out the various economic transactions, resource requirements and environmental emissions (including all the various manufacturing, transportation, mining and related requirements) required for producing a particular product or service.
EIO-LCA relies on sector-level averages that may or may not be representative of the specific subset of the sector relevant to a particular product. To the extent that the good or service of interest is representative of a sector, EIOLCA can provide very fast estimates of full supply chain implications for that good or service.