Using the Product Social Impact Life Cycle Assessment (PSILCA) database for product comparison: Confetti case study

Int J Life Cycle Assess. 2023 May 2:1-23. doi: 10.1007/s11367-023-02173-x. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) is a methodology that can help companies administer their supply chain and promote both social responsibility and sustainability through the assessment of both positive and negative social and socio-economic aspects of products during their entire life cycle. Here, a case study was performed to test an S-LCA database as a comparative assessment tool of two products, i.e. the traditional almond sugared confetti and Tenerelli sugared almonds, made by the same company.

Methods: The S-LCA case study was carried out by using the Product Social Impact Life Cycle Assessment (PSILCA) database, for the two products on openLCA software.

Results and discussion: The risk assessment helped to identify the most affected impact categories and which product influences the most on them as well as the categories on which the foreground processes have the greatest impact. For both the analysed products, the category "Contribution of the sector to economic development" is marginally affected. Overall, the production of Confetti entails higher medium risk hours regarding some categories (e.g. "Public sector corruption", "Promoting social responsibility", "Migration flows"), whilst for others, it is the Tenerelli that affect the most (e.g. "Biomass consumption", "Trade unionism"), depending on the different inputs used. Finally, the results are not very influenced by foreground processes, and the social risks are therefore related to upstream processes for both products.

Conclusions: The comparison can become more useful for products of the same or similar functions and the same audience but of different inputs and therefore different supply chains. Indeed, it could be useful for decision-making with the aim of selecting between various possible options the one that entails lower social risks.

Keywords: Confectionary industry; Database; PSILCA; S-LCA; Social Life Cycle Assessment; Sugared almonds.