Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products

Behind the life cycle of a product, from the cradle to the grave, there is a story to tell. Not only about its potential impact on the environment, but as well in terms of social and socio-economic impacts – or potential impacts – of its production and consumption on the workers, the local communities, the consumers, the society and all value chain actors. Today’s value chains are often complex, global and because of it, faceless. Shedding light on the human relationships impacted by the life cycle of goods and services helps to re-establish the connection and identify ways in which social conditions can be improved. Therefore, there is a need for guidelines to complement Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (E-LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC), and by doing so contributing to the full assessment of goods and services within the context of sustainable development. These Guidelines present the Social and socio-economic Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA), a powerful technique to assess and report about these impacts and benefits of product life cycle from the extraction of the natural resources to the final disposal. It provides an adequate technical framework from which a larger group of stakeholders can engage to move towards social responsibility when assessing the life cycle of goods and services.

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