Social Life Cycle Assessment of formal and informal recycling sector

Conference Dates

June 5 – 10, 2022


Social Life-cycle-assessment (LCA) has been defined as the assessment of social positive and negative impacts to all relevant stakeholder categories involved in a product life cycle since 2009 in the first UNEP 2009 Guidelines of Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products. It has been developed as a complementary approach to the environmental life cycle assessment to be able to measure the social impacts at the same level of the environmental ones in products and services. It was considered a young and still immature methodology for years and it has led the interests of researchers and companies to further develop it in different sectors. The several improvements achieved in the last ten years led the Social LC Alliance to review the first guidelines and the new one (UNEP 2020 Guidelines of Social Life Cycle Assessment of product and organisations) has been published in 2020 during a 4 years project which has carried out as well the revision of the Methodological sheets (UNEP, 2021) and the publication of the 9 pilot projects as first implementations of the new guidelines (LCI, 2022). In parallel to it we know that a very much importance has been given to the transition to a circular economy with the European Circular economy action plans 2015 and 2020. According to them much more efforts must be given to implement a circular economy strategy to reduce waste and improve recycling. The main focus has been always the environmental performance related to the waste sector but which are the social impacts created by the generation of so much waste and by the current linear economy? Which are the challenges and benefits of a recycling sector? Which is the difference between formal and informal recycling sector in terms of stakeholders and their impacts? Several reports and guidance have been published in the last year, such as Creating Successful Formalinformal Partnerships in the Indian E-waste Sector (GIZ 2018), to draw a roadmap towards a sustainable management of the waste in several critical sector, e.g. electronics. An overview of the Social Life cycle assessment methodology and its application to formal and informal recycling sector will be given in the presentation.

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