Exploring the role of social life cycle assessment in transition to circular economy: A systematic review

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2024-05-17
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
12
Series
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Volume 207, pp. 1-12
Abstract
Transitioning to a circular economy (CE) may create unintended social consequences. This systematic review analysed 45 published studies from 2009 to 2023 that evaluate these consequences using social lifecycle assessment (S-LCA), a tool based on the UNEP Guidelines. Most studies focused on circular activities like energy recovery and material recycling rather than reuse, remanufacturing, and repair. Worker-related issues like health, safety or fair wages were more frequently reported than impacts on consumers or society. Challenges in S-LCA application for CE include defining system boundary, identifying affected stakeholders, selecting relevant impact categories and indicators, obtaining verifiable data inventory, and addressing subjectivity in impact interpretation. A solution identified through the review was to enhance stakeholder involvement across industries to identify emerging social risks during the transition to CE. Periodically revising the UNEP Guideline based on these risks will provide a uniform framework for continued use of S-LCA in evaluating the transition to CE.
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Keywords
circular economy, social life cycle assessment, supply chain, workers
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Citation
Bhatnagar, A, Härri, A, Levänen, J & Niinimäki, K 2024, ' Exploring the role of social life cycle assessment in transition to circular economy: A systematic review ', Resources, Conservation and Recycling, vol. 207, 107702, pp. 1-12 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2024.107702