Life cycle-based methodologies are gaining increasing consensus as a tool to support the transition towards sustainable production and consumption patterns. Despite its potential, Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) is the least applied, also given the lower consideration of the social dimension of sustainability in the agri-food sector. The present study aims to outline the state of the art of S-LCA within the sector by identifying the main issues regarding its known strengths and weaknesses to provide some considerations for its future imple- mentation. A systematic literature review was performed following the Preferred Reporting Items of Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) flow diagram. The selected S-LCA studies were analysed based on criteria identified according to the research questions, the known weaknesses and strengths of S-LCA and the specificities of the agri-food sector. The obtained results confirmed S-LCA to be a methodology still evolving that has been increasingly applied, even if affected by some criticalities already identified in S-LCA literature. Among them, there are those related to the lack of data, the system boundary and the cut-off criteria definition, the impact assessment methods, the absence of defined and shared criteria for selecting stakeholders, subcategories and indicators. On the other hand, some emerged critical issues are closely related to the analysed sector’s speci- ficities and complexity, such as the product’s multifunctionality, the multiplicity of the involved stakeholders and their peculiarities, the link between the products and the territory. Therefore, a greater effort would be desirable in justifying fundamental methodological choices as well as in empathising the special characteristics of the products, the social themes and the involved stakeholders. The new S-LCA Guidelines can be a useful starting point to face these challenges.

The count of what counts in the agri-food Social Life Cycle Assessment

Tragnone, Bianca Maria
Primo
;
D'Eusanio, Manuela
Secondo
;
Petti, Luigia
Ultimo
2022-01-01

Abstract

Life cycle-based methodologies are gaining increasing consensus as a tool to support the transition towards sustainable production and consumption patterns. Despite its potential, Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) is the least applied, also given the lower consideration of the social dimension of sustainability in the agri-food sector. The present study aims to outline the state of the art of S-LCA within the sector by identifying the main issues regarding its known strengths and weaknesses to provide some considerations for its future imple- mentation. A systematic literature review was performed following the Preferred Reporting Items of Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) flow diagram. The selected S-LCA studies were analysed based on criteria identified according to the research questions, the known weaknesses and strengths of S-LCA and the specificities of the agri-food sector. The obtained results confirmed S-LCA to be a methodology still evolving that has been increasingly applied, even if affected by some criticalities already identified in S-LCA literature. Among them, there are those related to the lack of data, the system boundary and the cut-off criteria definition, the impact assessment methods, the absence of defined and shared criteria for selecting stakeholders, subcategories and indicators. On the other hand, some emerged critical issues are closely related to the analysed sector’s speci- ficities and complexity, such as the product’s multifunctionality, the multiplicity of the involved stakeholders and their peculiarities, the link between the products and the territory. Therefore, a greater effort would be desirable in justifying fundamental methodological choices as well as in empathising the special characteristics of the products, the social themes and the involved stakeholders. The new S-LCA Guidelines can be a useful starting point to face these challenges.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/794871
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