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Analysis of human well-being as the area of protection in social life cycle assessment
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management. Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1453-528x
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Sustainability Assessment and Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7521-2310
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. Vol. 28, no 10, p. 1428-1442
Keywords [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-338501DOI: 10.1007/s11367-023-02213-6ISI: 001050716000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85168497914OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-338501DiVA, id: diva2:1812131
Note

QC 20231115

Available from: 2023-11-15 Created: 2023-11-15 Last updated: 2023-11-15Bibliographically approved

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Lindkvist, MathiasEkener, Elisabeth

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