Methodological Sheets for Subcategories in Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) 2021

Methodological Sheets for Subcategories in Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) 2021

Published: December 2021

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The Methodological Sheets for subcategories in S-LCA supplement the Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products and Organizations published by UNEP Life Cycle Initiative and were developed as a public resource to guide the application of S-LCA. The goal pursued by these sheets is to be an operative tool for experts and non-experts wishing to design and conduct S-LCA studies and to provide detailed information on each of the subcategories introduced in the Guidelines organized by stakeholder category.

The Methodological Sheets presents each impact subcategory in a practical way, providing their definition, introducing the political context, giving the link with the Sustainable Development Goals by indicating which goal they can measure a contribution, defining generic and specific indicators, and giving examples of sources for collecting both types of indicators.

The sheets have been developed recognizing that data collection is the most labor-intensive activity when carrying out a Social LCA. Therefore, different indicators may be used depending on data availability and the goal and scope of the study. The sheets are meant to inspire S-LCA case studies based on the Guidelines rather than to represent a complete set of indicators that must be included and criteria that must be met.

Some more specific goals pursued with the development of the Methodological Sheets included:

  • Avoid misunderstandings about subcategories and clarify their relation to stakeholder groups;
  • Provide a “measurement recipe” for each of the subcategories in the S-LCA framework, including examples of inventory indicators, units of measurement, and potential data sources for hotspot assessment, as outlined in the Guidelines;
  • Provide measurement sources and background information sources for baseline data that could be used in S-LCA;
  • Enhance the ease and the consistency of application across different case studies;
  • Provide a comprehensive open source resource for S-LCA.

It is foreseen and wanted, that the Methodological Sheets act as a living resource in the sense that that they evolve over time and that their content continues to be expanded as the field of S-LCA advances.