Evaluation of a challenge-derived social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) framework

Volumen:  14, No. 6   |  Pages:  1680-1697   |  Year of Publication:  2021  | License:  CC BY 4.0

What is the objective?

The aim of this paper is to formulate a social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) framework emerging from a set of challenges identified in the S-LCA field.

Our Short Summary.

This paper develops an S-LCA framework using categories of challenges to facilitate methodologies for making social impact assessments. The framework proposes an approach to evaluate the social impact of product systems using an LCA framework. The final framework is presented in the format of the different LCA assessment stages: (1) Goal and Scope, (2) Inventory Analysis, (3) Impact Assessment and, (4) Interpretation of Results.

Why you should read it!

This paper is a recommended read for those interested in LCA, design research methodology, user feedback assessment and social impact measurement.

Original Abstract


Sustainability assessments provide methodologies to assess the environmental, economic, and social impacts of products along their life cycle. The purpose of this research is to develop a social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) framework derived from a set of challenges identified in the S-LCA field.


The S-LCA framework presented in this study is developed by i) performing a systematic mapping of the S-LCA field; ii) gathering of LCA and SIA expert feedback; iii) evaluation through a novice user study; iv) and a case study application. The systematic mapping procedure is explained in detail (Bonilla-Alicea and Fu 2019), while the expert feedback and novice user study are the focus of this article.

Results and discussion

The case study application of the framework is the subject of a separate publication. The expert feedback is used to verify the relevance of the challenges through electronic survey data. Based on the expert feedback, the number of challenges is reduced from twelve to ten, as two of the challenges are considered part of the study design rather than challenges to performing social assessments.


The novice user study implemented a simplified version of the S-LCA framework, and users were able to identify potential social impacts of their capstone design.


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