Since the first publication on Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA) by O’Brian M, et al. (1996), a lot has been done in the scientific community to develop a commonly accepted methodology and relative set of indicators.

Milestone examples of the SLCA are: Joergensen et al. (2008), the guidelines of Social Life Cycle Assessment from UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative (UNEP/SETAC, 2009; Benoit-Norris et al., 2009) and the methodological sheets (UNEP/SETAC 2013; Benoit-Norris et al., 2011). The guidelines clearly defined SLCA following the same structure of environmental LCA and developed its steps according to the ISO Standard 14040/44 (2006). A difference is introduced with the stakeholder groups and the subcategories. The subcategories are the socially relevant characteristic or attribute to be assessed (i.e. fair salary) according to each defined stakeholder group (UNEP, SETAC, 2009).

Several examples of implementation (Hosseinijou et al. 2014, Ramirez et al. 2014, Foolmaun et al 2013, Traverso et al. 2012) and further development in data availability as well a on the development of impact pathway have been occurred in the last few years. (Neugebauer et al. 2014, Feschet et al, 2012 Joergensen et al. 2010). However many questions and challenges for a harmonized and complete framework of SLCA still remain.

One of the key messages coming out of the current discussion is on the necessity to couple the engineering perspective adopted so far in SLCA with the social science, to add consistency, coherence and a solid background for applications at several levels, ranging from products to more complex systems. It is undeniable that the engineering and mathematical approach is often challenged by the necessity to evaluate subjective and qualitative aspects for a correct and complete assessment of the social performance of a product. The need to take into account local conditions often makes difficult to define a standardized set of indicators that can capture the reality and allows for a correct interpretation towards the improvement of stakeholders ́ social conditions: e.g. the pathway of child labour to wellbeing as reported by Joergensen et al. 2010.

On the other hand, the increasing number of SLCA implementations, the company and customer ́s need of transparency of sustainability aspects along the supply chain, has already requested for the development of a harmonized approach. Even if the SLCA has not been yet finally developed, the experience made in the LCA showed the necessity to pursue a harmonized approach in parallel with the further development.

The main goal of this special issue is to define the current state of the art of SLCA methodology as well as its implementation at the product and company level in order to move a step further toward harmonization of the approach.

We call for papers covering several aspects of social LCA: scientific background (ontology, epistemology), methods and models (inventory and pathways), tools, data, case studies.

Suggested topics (but not restricted to)

  • Qualitative vs quantitative assessment
  • impact pathway in SLCA
  • main challenges in applying SLCA
  • SLCA in the framework of Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment
  • tools and databases
  • scientific background
  • indicators for SLCA
  • social life cycle assessment approaches
  • etc.

How to Submit

Manuscripts should be original, English and previously unpublished. Suggest length between 3,500 and 6,000 words excluding references – resulting in about 10 pages in the Journal. Ancillary data relevant to articles can be posted on the journal’s web site in the form of supporting information. Submission implies that the manuscript has not been submitted for publication elsewhere and that it will not be submitted elsewhere while the review process is underway. All papers are subject to peer-review by at least two experts. When submitting your paper, you will be asked for suggested names of reviewers. Papers should be submitted electronically via https://www.editorialmanager.com/jlca/. Please indicate that this is a submission for the “Social LCA” issue on the author checklist during the submission process. Further details about the preparation of the manuscript can be obtained from the Journal’s Web page or from the editor. The deadline of the submission is 30 June 2015

Contact Info

Please submit articles for this special issue by 30 June, 2015. The Guest Editors for this issue are:


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