Background, aim and scope In 2005, a comprehensive comparison of life cycle impact assessment toxicity characterisation models was initiated by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)-Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Life Cycle Initiative, directly involving the model developers of CalTOX, IMPACT 2002, USES-LCA, BETR, EDIP, WATSON and EcoSense. In this paper, we describe this model comparison process and its results-in particular the scientific consensus model developed by the model developers. The main objectives of this effort were (1) to identify specific sources of differences between the models' results and structure, (2) to detect the indispensable model components and (3) to build a scientific consensus model from them, representing recommended practice.