Insights on social life-cycle-assessment in practice in Sweden
The aim of this report is to provide better understanding of opportunities for and potential limitation on social life-cycle-assessment (S-LCA) usage for decision-making and communication. We present results from and the design of an interview study on 11 major organizations in Sweden. The studied organizations were found only to a considerably limited degree to have applied S-LCA. The findings also indicate an S-LCA potential due to a considerable focus on social issues, because other approaches used by the organizations only cover short parts of product chains, and as a result of it being scientific maybe appealing to research and development units. Identified potential challenges with the methodology are S-LCA not being holistic regarding sustainability, S-LCA users excluding indicators, S-LCA lacking context-specific indicators; the S-LCA procedure not encouraging keeping and improving suppliers and other actors; S-LCA being impractical, including costly, S-LCA results being difficult to communicate, S-LCA not providing clear risk information; and S-LCA addressing industries rather than the retailers which could exercise more pressure on product chains. The interviewees are considered to represent the organizations well. Other recent S-LCA literature only to a limited degree covers the types of findings from our study. Due to the life-cycle interest in the organizations and in Sweden in general, the findings can be of broader relevance. If a structured approach such as S-LCA is found to be needed (for example, because of the challenges with for example some United Nation goals and strong relations between these issues and product chains) and the complexity of preforming it makes it very expensive, maybe consideration of a wide variety of approaches to somehow handle that dilemma might be needed.