Aller au contenu

Social LCA

Being aware of social issues in the value chain, such as the direct and indirect creation of local employment, the promotion of social responsibility, public commitment to sustainable development and education encourages us to ask: '' How do actors (companies, industries, public policies, etc.) create shared social, economic and environmental values through a life cycle perspective? ''

To answer this question, the S-LCA provides information on these social and socio-economic impacts for decision-making looking forward to improving the social performance of an organization and ultimately the well-being of stakeholders.

"A social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) is a method that can be used to assess the social and sociological aspects of organizations, products and / or services, their real and potential impacts, positive and negative, throughout the life cycle, encompassing the extraction and processing of raw materials, manufacture, distribution, use, reuse, maintenance, recycling and final elimination. " (UNEP, 2020)

This methodology is based on Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) which focuses on environmental impacts. The framework for S-LCA is grounded upon the Guidelines (UNEP, 2020), Methodological Sheets (UNEP, 2021) and the Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ISO 14040 standard.

Stakeholders qualify as categories of actors impacted by organizations, products and / or services. Social impacts, whether positive or negative, are classified by stakeholder categories to facilitate the operational process and ensure the completeness of the framework.

In the S-LCA guidelines, these categories of stakeholders are taken into account: worker/employee, local community, value chain actors (e.g., suppliers), consumer, society and children.

The impact categories contain the crucial social themes (the indicators) for different categories of stakeholders.

These indicators may vary depending on the context of the study and allow the assessment of impact categories such as employment relationship, sexual harassment, smallholders including farmers, wealth distribution, ethical treatment of animals, poverty allevia¬tion, education in the local community, health issues of children as consumers, children concerns regarding marketing practices.

Conducting Social LCA

We carry out social LCA in four steps :

Definition of the goal and scope/ identification and relevance of social indicators (social themes) and stakeholders

Development of questionnaires according to indicators (social themes)

Collection of quantitative, qualitative and semi-qualitative data through interviews and online questionnaires

Analysis and interpretation of results, validation, and presentation of areas for improvement based on a scoring system (Performance score)

Ces étapes se réfèrent aux documents suivants publiés par l’Initiative du Cycle de Vie du PNUE :

“The Guidelines” present the state of the art in terms of measuring social impacts through relevant examples. The document explains the strengths and challenges of different approaches in the social analysis of products and organizations. Each section defines the main steps of the study based on concrete examples and directs the user to additional resources and references.

The objectives of this Guidelines (UNEP, 2020) are, in particular: the recognition of a plurality of established approaches, the adaptation of the S-LCA to the current context and the presentation of methodological developments.

“The methodological sheets for subcategories in S-LCA”, published in 2021, supplement “The Guidelines” and are intended to guide case studies in S-LCA.

The objectives of this document are, in particular: to clarify the sub-categories and their relationship with stakeholder groups, to provide a measurement methodology for each sub-category, to define specific inventory indicators, and to propose potential data sources for assessment of hot spots.

S-LCA Guidelines, UNEP, 2020

With the help of its experts, WeLOOP offers to conduct a social LCA for your services, products or sectors in order to improve your social performance and to support you in the implementation of our solutions.

Do you want to know the social impacts generated by your business and develop a collaborative project? Contact us to discuss!

Learn more