Progress of social assessment in the framework of bioeconomy under a life cycle perspective
Published in: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volumen: 175 | Pages: 15 | Year of Publication: 2021 | License: CC BY 4.0
Paper Access: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2023.113162
What is the objective?
The aim of the study is to outline the current progress of S-LCA in the bioeconomy framework, identifying the main methodological developments and the possible adaptation of the tool in bio-based systems (biorefineries, bioenergy, and bio-based products).
Our Short Summary.
Why you should read it!
This article allows researchers and decision-makers to identify the most relevant methodological advances in supporting the societal transition to the bioeconomy through S-LCA.
The bioeconomy is positioned as a sustainable pathway to address the climate crisis and decrease the consumption of fossil resources. Life cycle methodologies are recognised as useful tools for assessing sustainability issues of production and consumption patterns. Nevertheless, the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) methodology is less explored despite its potential, although it is true that social sustainability assessment in promoting bioeconomy strategies requires more attention. This study describes the state of the art of the S-LCA methodology under the bioeconomy framework, critically analysing the main procedural and practical issues of its implementation, and the eventual specificities, as well as providing some of the challenges for future studies. This review highlights methodological weaknesses that require further research, related to the definition of system boundaries and cut-off criteria, the method of impact assessment, and the selection of societal issues and stakeholders, as well as uncertainty, among others. In addition, particularities of the bioeconomy in the life perspective were noted, such as multifunctionality and allocation issues of bio-based products, as well as the strong interest in biofuel production systems. Therefore, more efforts are desirable to address the diversity of challenges towards the progress of the S-LCA method in line with other life cycle approaches (environmental and economic). However, the updated S-LCA Guidelines represent a useful and valuable starting point on the way towards a comprehensive (i.e., diverse social concerns) and standardised social assessment under a life cycle perspective.