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Assessing the Social Performance of Products: Developing a Set of Indicators for Vattenfall AB Connected to the International EPD® system
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

A set of indicators has been developed by the author of this work to assess the social performance of Vattenfall’s products (electricity & heat). This set of indicators has been adapted to the requirements of the International EPD® system. The aim has been to create a set of indicators that can be applied to all processes within the lifecycle. The indicators are supposed to make a best possible statement of the social performance of a companies’ product, including the most relevant issues and topics within the pillar of social science and social sustainability.

The method used for the development of the indicators is the Delphi method. The Delphi process includes several rounds of reviewing. A group of experts usually carries out the reviewing. In this study five rounds of reviewing has been conducted with the help of nine experts. The first round has been an extensive literature review. The 390 indicators found in the literature have been classified according to the system and the instruction of S-LCA, which are described in the Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products. The fifth round of reviewing has been the last one and consensus on the list of indicators could be reached.

The outcome of the development process has been a set of 30 indicators. Not all subcategories proposed in UNEP/SETAC’s Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products have been covered. The indicators have been distinguished into two categories: core and additional. Some important social issues could not be expressed in the form of an indicator. They have been added in the final outcome of the paper, the ‘socioprofile’, as additional information.

The measurement and impact assessment of qualitative indicators have been a major challenge of this study. Data availability can be seen as another critical field of the study and the application of the indicators. Other studies that have been conducted focused on a lower amount of indicators.

The study has shown the possibility to quantify and measure social impacts to a certain degree. The proposed indicators are aiming at a globally focused assessment of social sustainability. The inclusion of experts and the group discussions with those experts have shown the importance of these indicators. The next step in the development of social sustainability indicators is the implementation of these indicators in a practical application and the study of the outcome. To be applicable within the International EPD® system, the Product Category Rules also have to be updated to allow for a Sustainable Product Declaration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 61 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 134
Keyword [en]
S-LCA, social life cycle assessment, EPD, social indicators, Vattenfall, sustainable development
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-197717OAI: diva2:629111
External cooperation
Vattenfall AB
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2013-05-27, Hambergsalen, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2013-06-18 Created: 2013-04-02 Last updated: 2013-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Sebastian Welling thesis(2875 kB)462 downloads
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