Title: Can S-LCA methodology support responsible sourcing of raw materials in EU policy context?
Authors: DI NOI CLAUDIACIROTH ANDREASMANCINI LUCIAEYNARD UMBERTOPENNINGTON DAVIDBLENGINI GIOVANNI
Citation: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT vol. 25 p. 332–349
Publisher: SPRINGER HEIDELBERG
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC120192
ISSN: 0948-3349 (online)
URI: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11367-019-01678-8
https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC120192
DOI: 10.1007/s11367-019-01678-8
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Purpose Access, affordability and sustainability of raw material supply chains are crucial to the sustainable development of the European Union (EU) for both society and economy. The study investigates whether and how the social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) methodology can support responsible sourcing of raw materials in Europe. The potential of social indicators already available in an S-LCA database is tested for the development of new metrics to monitor social risks in raw material industries at EU policy level. Methods The Product Social Impact Life Cycle Assessment (PSILCA) database was identified as a data and indicators source to assess social risks in raw material industries in EU-28 and extra-EU countries. Six raw material country sectors in the scope of the European policy on raw materials were identified and aggregated among those available in PSILCA. The selection of indicators for the assessment was based on the RACER (Relevance, Acceptance, Credibility, Ease, Robustness) analysis, leading to the proposal of 9 social impact categories. An S-LCA of the selected raw material industries was, thus, performed for the EU-28 region, followed by a contribution analysis to detect direct and indirect impacts and investigate related supply chains. Finally, the social performance of raw material sectors in EU-28 was compared with that of six extra-EU countries. Results and discussion Considering the overall social risks in raw material industries, “Corruption”, “Fair salary”, “Health and safety” and “Freedom of association and collective bargaining” emerged as the most significant categories both in EU and extra-EU. EU-28 shows an above-average performance where the only exception is represented by the mining and quarrying sector. An investigation of the most contributing processes to social impact categories for EU-28 led to the identification of important risks originating in the supply chain and in extra-EU areas. Therefore, the S-LCA methodology confirmed the potential of a life cycle perspective to detect burdens shifting and trade-offs. However, only a limited view on the sectoral social performance could be obtained from the research due to a lack of social data. Conclusions The S-LCA methodology and indicators appear appropriate to perform an initial social sustainability screening, thus enabling the identification of hotspots in raw material supply chains and the prioritization of areas of action in EU policies. Further methodological developments in the S-LCA field are necessary to make the approach proposed in the paper fully adequate to support EU policies on raw materials.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

Files in This Item:
There are no files associated with this item.


Items in repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.