Addressing positive impacts in social LCA – discussing current and new approaches exemplified by the case of vehicle fuels.
This paper seeks ways to address positive social impacts in social life cycle assessment (SLCA) and attempts to answer two questions: How can the SLCA methodology be improved in order to systematically identify all potential positive impacts in the supply chain? How can positive impacts be taken into consideration along with negative impacts in SLCA? In order for SLCA to be an attractive tool, it needs to provide users with the possibility to include positive impacts, not as variables stipulating lack of negative impacts but rather as fulfilment of positive potentials. By scrutinising the social impacts addressed in the SLCA UNEP/SETAC Guidelines today and reviewing approaches for positive impacts in other research fields, a developed approach to capture and aggregate positive social impacts in SLCA is proposed. To exemplify the application, the case of vehicle fuels is used to investigate the possibilities of addressing positive impacts in SLCA. This includes a literature review on potential positive social impacts linked to vehicle fuels.