Sustainability concerns drove the academic research towards the definition of methodological tools for environmental, economic and social assessment of products, services, organisations and policies, whose results have to be clear and understandable to a broad public. In this direction, Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) is gaining consensus as conceptual model, assessing the whole life cycle of a product/process, from planning to disposal, through the following methods: Life Cycle Assessment (eLCA) for environmental impacts, Life Cycle Costing (LCC) for economic ones and recently the Social Life Cycle Assessment (sLCA) that evaluates social impacts. A standardised methodology does not exist for sLCA such as for eLCA, because social impacts do not depend only on the nature of processes, but often by actors’ behaviour and territorial contexts. Indeed, these components, as well as their interactions, make more complex the social assessment that have to integrate necessarily quantitative and qualitative data. One of the most common difficulty in sLCA applications, as highlighted by many scholars, concerns the consensus about the choice of stakeholders groups and impact categories and, for each of them, the attribution of priorities to make the evaluation more pertinent to the context. In this sense, the involvement of possible affected actors, through site-based approaches and participatory tools, can help to overcome these difficulties. The aim of the present study is the definition of an methodology that combine sLCA with Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and its application in the agricultural domain. In particular, we focused on citrus farming in Calabria region (South Italy), one of the most important agricultural sectors at economic level, but also well known for cases of discriminations, underpaid work, break of labour rights, especially regarding immigrant workers; the analysis took into account some important production areas, pointing out significant differences between them, with the purpose of suggesting feasible improvements. The methodological proposal has been developed through several phases; the first one consisted of the definition of a stakeholders/impacts matrix built up taking into account a literature overview and the suggestions by UNEP/SETAC for sLCA, reformulated after a territorial analysis and a brainstorming with local experts to catch local specificities. The second phase, aimed to the fulfillment of the matrix (inventory phase), consisted in data gathering from secondary sources, such as official statistics and literature, and primary ones (collected through semi-structured questionnaires and direct interviews conducted at farm level). Finally, a third phase has been carried out applying a multicriteria methodology - the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) - with the double purpose to involve relevant actors in a participative assessment process and to assign a relative importance to each component of the stakeholder/impact matrix. Results have allowed to rank social performances of citrus-growing areas and showed that a participative approach in sLCA could be useful for private and public deciders, e.g. to address political choices or help entrepreneurs to fit requirements for social sustainability.

Social life cycle assessment and participatory approaches: A methodological proposal applied to citrus farming in Southern Italy

De Luca A. I.
;
Iofrida N.;Strano A.;Gulisano G
2015

Abstract

Sustainability concerns drove the academic research towards the definition of methodological tools for environmental, economic and social assessment of products, services, organisations and policies, whose results have to be clear and understandable to a broad public. In this direction, Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) is gaining consensus as conceptual model, assessing the whole life cycle of a product/process, from planning to disposal, through the following methods: Life Cycle Assessment (eLCA) for environmental impacts, Life Cycle Costing (LCC) for economic ones and recently the Social Life Cycle Assessment (sLCA) that evaluates social impacts. A standardised methodology does not exist for sLCA such as for eLCA, because social impacts do not depend only on the nature of processes, but often by actors’ behaviour and territorial contexts. Indeed, these components, as well as their interactions, make more complex the social assessment that have to integrate necessarily quantitative and qualitative data. One of the most common difficulty in sLCA applications, as highlighted by many scholars, concerns the consensus about the choice of stakeholders groups and impact categories and, for each of them, the attribution of priorities to make the evaluation more pertinent to the context. In this sense, the involvement of possible affected actors, through site-based approaches and participatory tools, can help to overcome these difficulties. The aim of the present study is the definition of an methodology that combine sLCA with Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and its application in the agricultural domain. In particular, we focused on citrus farming in Calabria region (South Italy), one of the most important agricultural sectors at economic level, but also well known for cases of discriminations, underpaid work, break of labour rights, especially regarding immigrant workers; the analysis took into account some important production areas, pointing out significant differences between them, with the purpose of suggesting feasible improvements. The methodological proposal has been developed through several phases; the first one consisted of the definition of a stakeholders/impacts matrix built up taking into account a literature overview and the suggestions by UNEP/SETAC for sLCA, reformulated after a territorial analysis and a brainstorming with local experts to catch local specificities. The second phase, aimed to the fulfillment of the matrix (inventory phase), consisted in data gathering from secondary sources, such as official statistics and literature, and primary ones (collected through semi-structured questionnaires and direct interviews conducted at farm level). Finally, a third phase has been carried out applying a multicriteria methodology - the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) - with the double purpose to involve relevant actors in a participative assessment process and to assign a relative importance to each component of the stakeholder/impact matrix. Results have allowed to rank social performances of citrus-growing areas and showed that a participative approach in sLCA could be useful for private and public deciders, e.g. to address political choices or help entrepreneurs to fit requirements for social sustainability.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/2055
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