A conceptual framework for impact assessment within SLCA

  • Claudia Reitinger
  • Matthias Dumke
  • Mario Barosevcic
  • Rafaela Hillerbrand
SOCIETAL LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims at spelling out the area of protection (AoP), namely the general concept of human well-being and the impact categories in social life cycle assessment (SLCA). The applicability of the so-called capabilities approach—a concept frequently used for evaluating human lives—is explored. It is shown how the principles of the capabilities approach can be transferred to the impact assessment within SLCA.

Methods

The literature concerning the AoP and the impact assessment has been critically reviewed from an applied philosophy perspective. The capabilities approach has been adopted for defining both the AoP and the impact categories.

Results

The main results are the following: (1) The AoP is defined as autonomy, well-being freedom and fairness; (2) using the dimensions which constitute well-being together with the concept of fairness eight impact categories are proposed: life, knowledge and aesthetic experience, work and play, friendship, self-integration, self-expression, transcendence and fairness itself and (3) by examining the ‘Guide to Social LCA: Methodological Sheets’, it is demonstrated that our proposed framework can be used for structuring the previous work on impact assessment.

Conclusions

The capability approach is one possibility for addressing the question ‘what is of importance in a human life?’ When applied in a practical field, like SLCA, this framework is not only useful for structuring data but also for disclosing our own normative assumptions about what counts as valuable in a human life. Thus, the normative evaluation is more coherent.

Keywords

Area of protection (AoP) Capabilities approach Impact assessment Impact categories Social life cycle assessment (SLCA) Well-being 

References

  1. Alkire S (2002a) Dimensions of human development. World Dev 30(2):181–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alkire S (2002b) Valuing freedoms: Sen’s capability approach and poverty reduction. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Benoît C, Mazijn B (eds) (2009) Guidelines for social life cycle assessment of products. http://www.cdo.ugent.be/publicaties/280.guidelines-sLCA.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2010
  4. Benoît C et al (2010) The guidelines for social life cycle assessment of products: just in time! Int J Life Cycle Assess 15(1):156–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Comim F, Tsutsumi R, Varea A (2007) Choosing a sustainable consumption: a capability perspective on indicators. J Int Dev 19:493–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De Vries B, Peterson A (2009) Conceptualizing sustainable development: an assessment methodology connecting values, knowledge, world views and scenarios. Ecol Econ 68(4):1006–1019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dreyer L, Hauschild M, Schierbeck J (2006) A framework for social life cycle impact assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 11(2):88–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Finis J, Grisez G, Boyle J (1987) Practical principles, moral truth & ultimate ends. Am J Jurisprud 32:99–151Google Scholar
  9. Grießhammer R, Benoît C, Dreyer LC, Flysjö A, Manhart A, Mazijn B, Méthot AL, Weidma B (2006) Feasibility study: integration of social impacts into LCA. http://www.concisenet.de/fileadmin/download/modul_ps/UNEP-SETAC_feasibility_study_mai_06.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2010
  10. Holland B (2008) Justice and the environment in Nussbaum’s capabilities approach. Polit Res Q 61(2):319–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jørgensen A, Le Bocq A, Nazarkina L, Hauschild M (2008) Methodologies for social life cycle assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 13(11):96–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jørgensen A, Lai L, Hauschild M (2010) Assessing the validity of impact pathways for child labour and well-being in social life cycle assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 15(1):5–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Klöpffer W (2003) Life-cycle based methods for sustainable product development. Int J Life Cycle Assess 8(3):157–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Klöpffer W (2008) Life cycle sustainability of products (with comments by Helias A. Udo de Haes). Int J Life Cycle Assess 13(2):89–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Life Cycle Initiative (2010) Guide to social LCA: methodological sheets. http://lcinitiative.unep.fr/default.asp?site=lcinit&page_id=A8992620-AAAD-4B81-9BAC-A72AEA281CB9. Accessed 1 Oct 2010
  16. Omann I, Rauschmayer F, Frühmann J (2010) Sustainable development: capabilities. Needs and well-being. Taylor & Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Ott K, Döring R (2008) Theorie und Praxis starker Nachhaltigkeit. Metropolis, MarburgGoogle Scholar
  18. Schultz J, Brand F, Kopfmüller J, Ott K (2008) Building a ‚theory of sustainable development’: to salient conceptions within the German discourse. Int J Environ Sust Dev 7(4):465–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sen A (1992) Development as freedom. Anchor, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Sen A (2005) Human rights and capabilities. J Hum Dev 6(2):151–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sen A (2009) The idea of justice. Harvard University Press, HarvardGoogle Scholar
  22. Udo de Haes HA, Jolliet O, Finnveden G, Hauschild M, Krewitt W, Müller-Wenk R (1999) Best available practice regarding impact categories and category indicators in life cycle impact assessment. Background document for the second working group (WIA-2) on life cycle impact assessment of SETAC-Europe. Int J Life Cycle Assess 4(2):66–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Van Ootegem L, Spillemaeckers S (2009) A capabilities approach on well-being and sustainable development. http://www.esee2009.si/papers/Spillemaeckers-A_capabilities.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2010
  24. Weidema B (2006) The integration of economic and social aspects in life cycle impact assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 11(1):89–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Reitinger
    • 1
  • Matthias Dumke
    • 1
  • Mario Barosevcic
    • 2
  • Rafaela Hillerbrand
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Technology CenterEthics for Energy TechnologyAachenGermany
  2. 2.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations