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 to exemplify and provide more concrete methodological improvements, the case of vehicle fuels is used to investigate the possibilities to address positive impacts in SLCA.By scrutinising the social impacts addressed in the SLCA UNEP/SETAC
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.
The subcategories in the SLCA Guidelines are proposed to be divided into positive and negative impacts and complemented with some additional positive impacts. Related indicators are proposed. A draft approach for assessing positive impacts is developed where the proposed indicators are categorised in four different levels, from low to very high potential positive impact. The possibility to aggregate positive social impacts is discussed. Besides multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), few useful ideas for aggregating positive impacts in SLCA were found in the literature that mostly focused on surveys and monetarisation. Positive social impacts linked to vehicle fuels (fossil fuels and biofuels) are identified, and the proposed approach is schematically applied to vehicle fuels.