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Lindkvist, M. & Ekener, E. (2023). Analysis of human well-being as the area of protection in social life cycle assessment. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 28(10), 1428-1442
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Analysis of human well-being as the area of protection in social life cycle assessment
2023 (English)In: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, E-ISSN 1614-7502, Vol. 28, no 10, p. 1428-1442Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) has been developed for almost two decades for assessing the social impacts of product life cycles. Only a limited amount of research, however, considers the full range of social sustainability that is impacted by the cause-effect relationships in the impact pathway (IP) approach in S-LCA. The aim of this study is to provide guidance on the ultimate purpose of S-LCA by presenting an up-to-date overview on human well-being (HWB). Methods: Due to the broadness of the purpose of presenting and assessing an up-to-date set of HWB components, our study was designed as a qualitative literature review. The review includes core characteristics of a qualitative systematic review, a realist review, and an umbrella review. We designed the operationalised review to result in a synthesised HWB component set and guidance on its use. In order to achieve this, we searched for theoretical lenses on how HWB component sets relate to other HWB approaches, searched for HWB component sets, and identified S-LCA relevant sustainability aspects and tested these on the component sets. The component sets were found in sustainability science, philosophy, psychology, and development studies. Results and discussion: The study resulted in a framework that contains both a HWB component set and guidance on its use. The set consists of the five components: having a healthy life; having competencies; having influence and enjoying freedom; having a meaningful life; and enjoying fair treatment. This approach is by philosophers denoted an objective goods list, containing “goods” that are seen as intrinsic parts of HWB because they so clearly can support humans in their lives. Other philosophical perspectives suggest that either desires in choice situations impacting the objective goods or the experienced mental states resulting from the goods, ultimately matters to humans. Challenges with the goods approach are how to define a good life and to relate to actual human activity. Conclusions: The presented updated definition of a HWB components set and guidance on it can benefit developers and practitioners of S-LCA, and in particular the IP approach, by illustrating the scope of social sustainability and the challenge of defining it. Regarding the scope, several other social sustainability aspects than health have been shown to matter. Regarding the challenge of defining social sustainability, it remains to see what the path forward is taking this challenge into account.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2023
Keywords
Area of protection (AoP), Human well-being (HWB), Impact pathway (IP), Review, Social life cycle assessment (S-LCA), Social life cycle impact assessment (S-LCIA)
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-338501 (URN)10.1007/s11367-023-02213-6 (DOI)001050716000001 ()2-s2.0-85168497914 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20231115

Available from: 2023-11-15 Created: 2023-11-15 Last updated: 2023-11-15Bibliographically approved
Ddiba, D. I., Ekener, E., Lindkvist, M. & Finnveden, G. (2022). Sustainability assessment of increased circularity of urban organic waste streams. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 34, 114-129
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability assessment of increased circularity of urban organic waste streams
2022 (English)In: Sustainable Production and Consumption, ISSN 2352-5509, Vol. 34, p. 114-129Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The circular economy, from an urban organic waste perspective, is seen as an approach to deal with increasing waste streams, while contributing to meeting the increasing demand for water, energy, food and other resources in urban areas. However, there is need for a systematic assessment of the broader environmental and social ben-efits and trade-offs of resource recovery from organic waste streams. This paper presents a framework for assessing the societal impacts of increased circularity in terms of resource recovery from organic waste streams at city scale, building on the design of alternative scenarios for future technology systems. The framework was developed based on a literature review of current frameworks in the area, adapting and combining some of their aspects and adding required features to allow for a broad sustainability assessment. It was also informed by stakeholder interviews. The framework was applied to the case of Naivasha, Kenya to illustrate its applicability and usefulness. The outcome of the application in the Naivasha case indicate potential sustainability improve-ments from increased circularity, where resource recovery could lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient natural resource usage and job creation. It indicated also some risks of negative impacts on the health of workers in resource recovery facilities, and, in this specific case, negative impact on smallholder farmers. The framework proved applicable and useful in the case study, and hence could provide input at early stages of planning even with low availability of data. Thereby it could provide policy-relevant insights towards circular economy implementation approaches that harness the benefits while mitigating any identified potential negative impacts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier BV, 2022
Keywords
Sustainability assessment, Circular economy, Organic waste, Low, and middle -income countries, Resource recovery, Scenarios
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-321276 (URN)10.1016/j.spc.2022.08.030 (DOI)000863272800010 ()2-s2.0-85138030417 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20221110

Available from: 2022-11-10 Created: 2022-11-10 Last updated: 2022-11-10Bibliographically approved
Ekener, E. & Lindkvist, M. (2022). The aim of S-LCA: Defining the AoP Human Well-being, and link to the subcategories in the Guidelines. In: : . Paper presented at S-LCA conference 2022, Aachen, Germany.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The aim of S-LCA: Defining the AoP Human Well-being, and link to the subcategories in the Guidelines
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis, Strategies for sustainable development
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-325129 (URN)
Conference
S-LCA conference 2022, Aachen, Germany
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Note

QC 20230403

Available from: 2023-03-30 Created: 2023-03-30 Last updated: 2024-03-15Bibliographically approved
Lindkvist, M. & Ekener, E. (2021). Towards social sustainability effective supply chains of innovative and established products: Defining the human wellbeing to support. In: : . Paper presented at The 10th International Conference on Life Cycle Management. Stuttgart, Germany
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards social sustainability effective supply chains of innovative and established products: Defining the human wellbeing to support
2021 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Social sustainability is an important aspect of supply chains. This is of particular interest during innovation stages, due to the opportunity to early in the process select design and production that align with sustainable development. The methodology social lifecycle assessment (SLCA), aimed at assessing social impacts, is still under development. Approaches to identify the cause-effect chains from supply chains to final impacts on social sustainability have only been developed and used to a limited extent so far, but the area has received considerable attention lately. In order to identify and describe these cause-effects chains, it is useful to thoroughly and clearly define what to be safeguarded and supported – the human wellbeing. A literature review was conducted in order to provide guidance on which components of human wellbeing matters to people. The literature reviewed covers a range of disciplines, including philosophy, psychology and development studies. Snowballing technique was used for selecting the literature, which means that we follow citations of and from already identified sources in order to capture the publications most relevant to the aim of our study. Preliminary results show that it cover aspects such as health, friendship and meaning-making. Further, indications are that also very poor people highly value more aspects of life than only basic health and life support. Combined with the trend towards considering positive impacts on social sustainability in SLCA, this points to both opportunities and challenges of products regarding the impacts from activities along supply chains on a range of actors. Defining human wellbeing, to enable the safeguarding and support of it, is only a first step towards modelling cause-effect chains for effective use of SLCA. However, such a definition can be a useful tool also in itself, not least for allowing in innovation projects consideration of design issue to enhance its support of wellbeing in the society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stuttgart, Germany: , 2021
Keywords
Social assessment, Human well-being, Synthesis, Literature review
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-303015 (URN)
Conference
The 10th International Conference on Life Cycle Management
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Note

QC 20211011

Available from: 2021-10-04 Created: 2021-10-04 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved
Lindkvist, M. & Ekener, E. (2021). Ultimate ends and sustainability action: a conceptual study on human well-being. In: : . Paper presented at Beyond Oil 2021, Bergen, Norway.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ultimate ends and sustainability action: a conceptual study on human well-being
2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Climate change has impacts, on its own and from measures for mitigating it. Environmental impacts influence humans through our abilities to uphold services such as providing food and through our moral caring for nature. Therefore, a framework on social sustainability can be relevant for addressing the climate challenge and other sustainability issues. Such a framework could help identifying how humans can be affected by different proposed climate actions. We consider, as a first step, an overview of what ultimately can be seen as human well-being, which is strongly connected to aspects of justice. Scholars in ethics, psychology and development studies have for several decades been theorising human well-being. The results so far are typically lists that include elements such as life itself, friendship and religion. This far, however, researchers have only to a limited degree explicitly related the notions of human well-being to the challenges of actions for sustainability. The challenges include aiming to be holistic in the sense of covering a large enough share of the central aspects of human well-being, delays between cause and effect, and using an accessible vocabulary due to the already high complexity of the sustainability issues. In this study, we focus on these and other challenges through a conceptual analysis. The analysis is applied to material collected through a theoretical literature review, using a snowballing technique. Our starting point is the social sustainability approach social life cycle assessment (SLCA). SLCA has been developed for systematic evaluation of the impacts from a product’s production, consumption and waste management on human well-being. The approach clearly aims to support human well-being, but we have identified opportunities to complement SLCA literature on it. We expect to have comprehensive results from the study at the time of the conference.

National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-305941 (URN)
Conference
Beyond Oil 2021, Bergen, Norway
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2018-01411
Note

QC 20211221

Available from: 2021-12-10 Created: 2021-12-10 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved
Ddiba, D., Ekener, E., Lindkvist, M. & Finnveden, G.Sustainability assessment of increased circularity of urban organic waste streams – with a case on Naivasha, Kenya.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability assessment of increased circularity of urban organic waste streams – with a case on Naivasha, Kenya
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

From an urban organic waste perspective, the circular economy is often seen as an approach to achieve dual outcomes: dealing with increasing waste streams while contributing to meeting the increasing demand for water, energy, food and other resources in urban areas. As the discourse on the circular economy moves from concept to implementation, there is need for assessing the environmental, social and economic benefits and trade-offs of both proposed and implemented strategies, policies, programs and projects for resource recovery from organic waste streams. This paper presents a framework with both conceptual and procedural aspects for assessing the societal impacts of alternative scenarios for resource recovery from organic waste streams at city scale. The framework was applied to the case of Naivasha, Kenya to illustrate its utility in assessing the environmental and social impacts associated with alternative scenarios that involve increasing circularity in the management of organic waste streams. The results highlighted that increasing circularity could potentially lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient natural resource usage and job creation, while at the same time leading to impacts on the health of workers in resource recovery facilities and a risk of reduced access to irrigation water for smallholder farmers. The framework also proved a useful way to identify potential positive and negative impacts linked to alternative scenarios and hence provide input at early stages of planning even with low availability of data. It is therefore expected that the framework and case study results could provide policy-relevant insights towards circular economy implementation approaches that harness the benefits while mitigating any identified potential negative impacts.

Keywords
sustainability assessment, circular economy, organic waste, low- and middle-income countries, resource recovery
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis, Strategies for sustainable development
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-310923 (URN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2017–00268
Note

QC 20220412

Available from: 2022-04-11 Created: 2022-04-11 Last updated: 2022-06-25Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-1453-528x

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