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Step-by-step social life cycle assessment framework: a participatory approach for the identification and prioritization of impact subcategories applied to mobility scenarios

Abstract : Abstract Purpose Investigating potential social and socio-economic impacts should play a key role for the development of sustainable mobility alternatives. Social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) is becoming increasingly important to ensure holistic sustainability assessments. The present work aims at identifying and evaluating social and socio-economic impact subcategories in S-LCA. A novel participatory approach implying all concerned stakeholders is proposed to select relevant impact subcategories and thus contribute to a thorough interpretation of S-LCA results. It is applied to assess electric and conventional vehicles. Methodology This paper describes a comprehensive step-by-step S-LCA framework . The innovation of this work consists in defining a structured S-LCA framework integrating a systematic approach based on two stages: (1) a sectorial risk analysis for the identification of impact subcategories and (2) a participatory approach for their prioritization. The proposed participatory approach considers all concerned stakeholders to enable the selection of the most relevant impact subcategories. A set of social inventory indicators is attributed to subcategories that were perceived as the most relevant. These are used to perform the social evaluation and carry out a full analysis in the result interpretation allowing thus to integrate a multi-actor perspective to the materiality assessment. Results The defined S-LCA framework is implemented to compare two mobility scenarios, corresponding to electric and conventional vehicle technologies. A new set of mobility-related impact subcategories is proposed for users’ stakeholder. Following the new designed participatory approach, subcategories for all stakeholders are prioritized according to different actors’ perceptions. For example, “safe and healthy living conditions,” “local employment,” and “delocalization and migration” were perceived for local communities as the most relevant subcategories by the different consulted stakeholders (industrial, academic, and public actors and users). These results also showed that social significance varies depending on the consulted actors and on the geographical area of the study. Using PSILCA database, we have investigated the subcategories that were perceived as the most relevant. Results for the evaluation and interpretation phases are presented for both transportation technologies. Conclusions This approach aims at increasing local relevance of S-LCA results and their representativeness. Results for the considered mobility scenarios have demonstrated the need to extend the scope of the materiality assessment, generally used for determining subcategories’ social significance from a single stakeholder perspective, by involving other stakeholders into the prioritization stage. Moreover, the proposed comprehensive S-LCA framework integrating the participatory approach is general enough to be applied to other product systems and sectors.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 22, 2021 - 1:10:17 PM
Last modification on : Friday, December 3, 2021 - 4:26:02 PM

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Ghada Bouillass, Isabelle Blanc, Paula Perez-Lopez. Step-by-step social life cycle assessment framework: a participatory approach for the identification and prioritization of impact subcategories applied to mobility scenarios. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Springer Verlag, 2021, ⟨10.1007/s11367-021-01988-w⟩. ⟨hal-03440034⟩

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