Methodology for social life cycle assessment (sLCA) is based on the UNEP guidelines with similar steps as environmental LCA (figure 1). After using a participatory approach to decide stakeholder and impact categories to be taken into account, a type 1 or reference scale method was used to align impact indicators with recognized standards or benchmarks.

Generic data is drawn from public databases and the Social HotSpot Database (SHDB), using working hours as an activity variable for semi-quantitative social indicator values. Specific data is sourced from expert viewpoints and stakeholder surveys. Human fundamental rights, UN conventions, and defined social standards (see below) form the benchmark of our adopted scales (figure 2). Hence, aligning social indicators on these scales can reveal potential hotspots across the lifecycle of bio-based fertilizers. This approach encourages responsible sourcing, ensuring price and origin considerations avoid supporting bad social conditions in concerned countries and activity sectors.

Standards defining reference values  for foreground activity sectors:

  • General: OECD guidelines, SA8000, ISO 26000, AA1000, World Bank, ILO
  • Fishing/Aquaculture: Global G.A.P, GRI 13 Standards, SSCI, ASC, FOS, MSC, BAP, Certisys®
  • Transformation/Formulation: Suschem, CEFIC, ECOVADIS, ICCA, Together for Sustainability, ISC3, IFA’s Protect & Sustain certification
  • Agriculture: Global G.A.P, GRI Standards, FAO, IISD

Figure 1: Steps of a social life cycle assessment (sLCA)


Figure 2: Example of a reference (UNEP, 2020)