Transition Towards a Sustainable Biobased Economy
Chapter 6: Social Assessment
Published:26 Feb 2020
Special Collection: 2020 ebook collection , ECCC Environmental eBooks 1968-2022Series: Green Chemistry
E. Imbert and P. M. Falcone, in Transition Towards a Sustainable Biobased Economy, ed. P. Morone and J. H. Clark, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020, ch. 6, pp. 166-191.
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The transition from an economy based on fossil fuels to one based on renewable resources is an integral part of the objectives tied to sustainability. In this respect, bio-based products can play a pivotal role whether they are proven to achieve the three dimensions of sustainability. However, following a general tendency in the literature, socio-economic aspects associated with bio-based products have been neglected as compared to environmental aspects. Yet, social sustainability has become a growing challenge, with important effects for bio-based products market uptake and for creating a level playing field with fossil-based counterparts. A life cycle approach is considered particularly appropriate for assessing bio-based products given that sustainable sources of raw materials, as well as sustainable end of life options, have been strongly recommended by international institutions and policy makers. This chapter proposes a Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) framework for bio-based products derived by means of a two-step analysis based on the: (i) identification and mapping of relevant stakeholders according to their power and interest towards bio-based products; (ii) validation and integration of a relevant set of social impact categories, subcategories and indicators, previously identified via a literature review, by engaging the identified stakeholders in four context-related interactive workshops.