A literature review of type I SLCA—making the logic underlying methodological choices explicit
- 610 Downloads
The Social Life Cycle Assessment guidelines (UNEP-SETAC 2009) distinguish two different SLCA approaches, type I and type II. Few comprehensive and analytical reviews have been undertaken to examine the multiplicity of approaches that have been developed within type I SLCA. This paper takes on the task of exploring the evaluation methods used in type I SLCA methods.
In order to tackle this work, a critical literature review was undertaken, covering a total of 32 reviewed articles, ranging from 2006 to 2015. Those articles have been selected for they make explicit reference to type I, performance reference points (PRPs), corporate behavior assessment, and social performance assessment or if their assessment methods generated a result located at the same point as the inventory data, with regards to the impact pathway. The selected articles were analyzed with a focus on the inventory data used, the aggregation of inventory data on the functional unit, and the type of characterization and weighting methods used. This analysis allowed to make explicit the often implicit logic underlying the evaluation methods and to identify the common denominators of type I SLCA.
Results and discussion
The analysis highlighted the multiplicity of approaches that are comprised within type I SLCA today, both in terms of the data collected (in particular, its positioning along the impact pathway); the presence of some optional steps, such as the scaling of inventory data on the functional unit (FU); and in terms of the different characterization and weighting steps. With regards to data collection, this review has highlighted that the furthest indicators are positioned along the impact pathway, the hardest it is to justify the link between them and the activities of companies in the product system. The analysis also suggested that an important differentiating factor among type I SLCA methods lies in “what the inventory data is assessed against” at the characterization step and how it is ultimately weighted. To illustrate this, a typology of six characterization methods and five types of weighting methods was presented.
It is interesting to identify which approaches are most appropriate to respond to the various questions that SLCA aims to respond to. A question that arises is what approaches are most likely to tell us anything about the impact of a product system on social well-being? This question is particularly relevant in the absence of well-documented impact pathways between activities within product systems and impact on social well-being.
KeywordsCharacterization methods Literature review Social LCA Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) Social impact assessment methods Social performance assessment Socio-economic impact assessment Type I Well-being
- Agéco (2013) Environmental and socioeconomic life cycle assessment of the Quebec auto parts recycling sector Montreal, L’Association des recycleurs de pièces d’autos et de camions inc (ARPAC). 187 pGoogle Scholar
- Beaulieu L, Russo Garrido S, Hamaide F, Revéret J-P (2014) From potential hotspots identification to social issues prioritization. Social LCA in progress. C. Macombe et D. Loeillet. Montpellier, CIRAD, p 115–122Google Scholar
- Benoît Norris C, Norris GS, Aulisio Cavan D (2013) Social hotspots database—supporting documentation. New Earth, 81 pGoogle Scholar
- Benoît C, Cavan DA, Norris GA (2012) Strawberry yogurt social scoping prototype—report product category 7, Arizona State University and University of ArkansasGoogle Scholar
- Benoît-Norris C (2014) Data for social LCA. Int J Life Cycle Assess 19:261–265Google Scholar
- Blok K, Huijbregts M. Roes L, van Haaster B, Patel M, Hertwich E, Wood R, Hauschild MZ, Sellke P, Antunes P, Hellweg S, Ciroth A, Harmelink M (2013) Prosuite: handbook on a novel method for the sustainable impact assessment of new technologies. Brussles, Report prepared within the EC 7th framework project PROSUITE (Development and application of a standardized methodology for the PROspective SUstaInability assessment of TEchnologies), 62 pGoogle Scholar
- Bouzid A, Padilla M (2014) Analysis of social performance of the industrial tomatoes food chain in Algeria. Mediterranean journal of economics, agriculture and environment. Rev Méditerr Économie, Agric Environ 13(1):p60–p65Google Scholar
- CIRAIG–AGÉCO (2011) Analyse du cycle de vie environnemental et social de deux options de gestion de matériel informatique en fin de vie. Recyc-Québec, MontréalGoogle Scholar
- Ciroth A, Franze J (2011) LCA of an ecolabeled notebook: consideration of social and environmental impacts along the entire life cycle. Federal Public Planning Service Sustainable Development, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
- Fontes J (2014) Handbook for product social impact assessment roundtable for product social metrics. 137pGoogle Scholar
- Foolmaun RK, Ramjeeawon T (2012) Comparative life cycle assessment and Social Life Cycle Assessment of used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles in Mauritius. Int J Life Cycle Assess 18(1):155–171Google Scholar
- Lehmann A, Russi D, Bala A, Finkbeiner M, Fullana-i-Palmer P (2011) Integration of social aspects in decision support, based on life cycle thinking sustainability. Int J Life Cycle Assess 3(4):562–577Google Scholar
- Manhart A, Griesshammer R (2006) Social impacts of the production of notebook PCs, Öko-Institute e.VGoogle Scholar
- Macombe C, Lagarde V, Falque A, Feschet P, Garrabé M, Gillet C, Loeillet D (2013) Social LCAs. Socio-economic effects in value chains. FruiTrop Journal Thema Collection, published by CIRAD. 172 ppGoogle Scholar
- Morberg Å, Picha M, Erlandsson-Segertröm B, Karagianni C, Malmodin J, Wiklund J (2009) Using a life-cycle perspective to assess potential social impacts of ICT services—a pre-study Stockholm, KTH Centre for Sustainable Communications. 44pGoogle Scholar
- Parent J, Cucuzella C, Reveret J-P (2012) Revisiting the role of LCA and SLCA in the transition towards sustainable production and consumption. Int J Life Cycle Assess Published online: 09 August 2012. doi: 10.1007/s11367-012-0485-9
- Prakash S, Manhart A, Amoyaw-Osei Y, Agyekum OO (2010) Socio-economic assessment and feasibility study on sustainable e-waste management in Ghana Freiburg, Öko-Institut eV in cooperation with Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) & Green Advocacy Ghana, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, VROM-Inspectorate. 110 pGoogle Scholar
- Quantis, Agéco, Ciraig (2012) Environmental and socioeconomic life cycle analysis of Canadian milk. Montréal. 253 pGoogle Scholar
- Revéret J-P, Parent J (2012) L’analyse sociale et socioéconomique du cycle de vie des produits: états des lieux et défis. Développement durable et économie environnementale régionale. p 79–90Google Scholar
- Revéret J-P, Couture J-M, Parent J (2015) Socioeconomic LCA of milk production in Canada. Environmental Footprints and Eco-design of Products and Processes. S.S. Muthu. Singapore, Springer Science + Business Media. p 25–69Google Scholar
- Tsurukawa N, Prakash S, Manhart A (2011) Social impacts of artisanal cobalt mining in Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo Freiburg, Öko-Institut eV. 75 pGoogle Scholar
- UNEP-SETAC (2009) Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of products. Edited by Benoit C, Mazjin B, UNEP, ParisGoogle Scholar
- WBCSD (2013) Measuring socio-economic impact—a guide for business. World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 39 pGoogle Scholar