Social Life Cycle Assessment

Over the years 2.-0 LCA consultants have contributed to the methodology development for social LCA, especially pointing out the close parallels with the biophysical LCA framework, and contributing to quantification of the social impact pathways with impact categories, indicators, and characterisation factors.

The client

UN Environment (formerly UN Environment Programme – UNEP) – Intergovernmental


Our role

We have contributed with a vice-chair to the Task Force of the UNEP/SETAC LIfe Cycle Initiative, resulting in several publications, including the much-cited Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products. Project completed December 2021.

Contributions to the development of Social LCA

The first contribution was a presentation to the Life Cycle Management Workshop of the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative in Johannesburg, 2002, entitled Quantifying Corporate Social Responsibility in the value chain. An important message here was the relevance of the ISO 14040-series for Social LCA a point that was iterated in a 2005 Letter to the editor entitled ISO 14044 also applies to social LCA.

The contribution to the quantification of social impacts was carried one step further in the 2005 conference presentation and the journal paper with the title The integration of economic and social aspects in life cycle impact assessment and the 2006 presentation Social impact categories, indicators, characterisation and damage modelling to the 29th Swiss LCA Discussion Forum.

As vice-chair of the UNEP/SETAC cross-cutting “Task Force on Social Aspects in LCA”, Bo P. Weidema contributed to the 2006 feasibility study and the final 2009 Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products and the accompanying Methodological Sheets.

This work is currently continued in our LCSA club.