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Social life cycle assessment framework for evaluation of potential job creation with an application in the French carbon fiber aeronautical recycling sector



Due to the increased consumption of carbon fibers, it is expected that an important amount of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP)-based products will enter in the coming years, at the end of their life cycle. Considering the challenges ahead in the establishment of a new recycling sector, it is appropriate to investigate the sustainable creation of a CFRP end-of-life management sector. The following work is part of a national funded project called SEARRCH, whose goal was to provide sustainability assessment indicators and methodology to stakeholders, for the implementation of a carbon fiber recycling sector. This article will focus on detailing the methodology aiming at characterizing the social dimension through the evaluation of potential job creation.


This publication describes the development of a method for the evaluation of potential job creation built on an adaptation of the Hunkeler societal life cycle assessment (societal LCA). This methodology based on life cycle inventory (LCI) has been adapted using input-output tables from the French national institute of statistics and economic studies (INSEE) or the Social Hotspot Database (SHDB) and a material flow analysis (MFA). A practical application in the CFRP recycling sector is then described. This research was conducted as part of a national project funded by the French Government France; therefore, this study respects data corresponding to the French national borders and assumes the use of a pyrolysis recycling process in calculating the amount of CFRP production and waste available at the end-of-life stage from the aeronautical sector.

Results and discussion

The amount of direct and indirect employment was obtained for different periods of time. Using technical coefficients extracted from the SHDB, it was determined that for the CFRP coming from the aeronautical sector, 85 direct and indirect induced jobs would be created for the period between 2046 and 2050. Using technical coefficients calculated from the input-output tables provided by the INSEE, the estimated number of jobs was 108 for the same period.


This publication demonstrated that the quantity of CFRP at the end-of-life stage could represent a potential benefit for direct and indirect job creation if the implementation of the end-of-life CFRP sector is anchored in a sustainable way, by establishing a new recycling sector for this material. Moreover, this method can provide calculations for other periods of time, sectors, and geographic scales, separately or in combination.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from the French National Research Agency (ANR), which funded the SEARRCH project (Sustainability Engineering Assessment Research for Recycled Composites with High value) in which this research was conducted (project ID: ANR-13-ECOT-0005).

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Correspondence to Baptiste Pillain.

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Responsible editor: Marzia Traverso

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Pillain, B., Viana, L.R., Lefeuvre, A. et al. Social life cycle assessment framework for evaluation of potential job creation with an application in the French carbon fiber aeronautical recycling sector. Int J Life Cycle Assess 24, 1729–1742 (2019).

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  • Carbon fiber-reinforced plastic
  • CFRP
  • Job creation
  • Life cycle inventory
  • Pyrolysis recycling
  • Social LCA