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The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 1514–1528 | Cite as

An analytic framework for social life cycle impact assessment—part 1: methodology

  • Sheng-Wen Wang
  • Chia-Wei Hsu
  • Allen H. Hu
SOCIETAL LCA

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to develop a new framework of social life cycle impact assessment (SLCIA) method based on the United Nations Environment Program/Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (UNEP/SETAC) Guidelines for analyzing the social impact in Taiwan, particularly in the electronics industry.

Methods

After reviewing the literature on social life cycle assessment (SLCA), we analyzed existing case studies and developed SLCIA methods based on the UNEP/SETAC Guidelines. We thereafter identified stakeholders, subcategories, and indicators in accordance with the current status of SLCA case studies and opinions from ten experts in the Taiwanese electronics industry. Both quantitative and semi-quantitative indicators were subsequently proposed to assess the social impact of workers in the Taiwanese electronics sector. Each indicator was given the score of 1 to 5 by classifying the social impact percentage of nine scales. To formulate an analytic framework for SLCIA, the weighting values of each subcategory and indicator were determined using the consistent fuzzy preference relations (CFPR) method.

Results and discussion

Seven subcategories and 19 qualitative and quantitative indicators of worker stakeholders for the electronics sector were identified based on the UNEP/SETAC Guidelines. A score of 1 to 5 is assigned to each quantitative indicator by classifying the social impact percentage of nine scales. The data obtained from companies for each quantitative indicator were subsequently transformed into social impact percentage in terms of the statistical data on social situations at the country or industry level. With regard to semi-quantitative indicators, three implementation levels of management efforts on social performance within five elements were identified. The CFPR method was then employed to determine the weights of each indicator by ten experts. Results indicated that preventing forced work practices, protecting children from having to work, and providing minimum and fair wages for workers are the three most important indicators for assessing social impact.

Conclusions

A new SLCIA method that incorporates both quantitative and semi-quantitative indicators was proposed for assessing social impact in the electronics sector in Taiwan. Nine quantitative indicators can be easily organized using available social data from government statistics as performance reference points (PRPs) to determine the social impact exerted by companies. The relative weights were determined to allow for an impact assessment and thus solve the limitation of their currently assumed equal weights. The proposed framework is examined to analyze the social impact of three production sites for semiconductor packaging and manufacturing in Taiwan.

Keywords

Consistent fuzzy preference relations Electronics sector Social life cycle impact assessment Worker stakeholders 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan for financially supporting this research under grant MOST 101-2221-E-236-002-MY3.

Supplementary material

11367_2016_1114_MOESM1_ESM.docx (37 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 36 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institutes of Engineering TechnologyNational Taipei University of TechnologyTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.National Science and Technology Center for Disaster ReductionNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Travel and Eco-tourismTungnan UniversityNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Business AdministrationNational Central UniversityTaoyuan CityTaiwan
  5. 5.Institute of Environmental Engineering and ManagementNational Taipei University of TechnologyTaipeiTaiwan

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