A Regional Socio-Economic Life Cycle Assessment of a Bioeconomy Value Chain
A bioeconomy tackles sustainable development at both the global and regional levels, as it relies on the optimized use of renewable bio-based resources for the provisioning of food, materials, and energy to meet societal demands. The effects of the bioeconomy can be best observed at a regional level, as it supports regional development and affects the social dimension of sustainability. In order to assess the social impacts of wood-based production chains with regional differentiation, the social life cycle assessment framework “RESPONSA” was established in 2018. We present an initial study, in which this method is applied to an exemplary production chain in a case study of laminated veneer lumber produced in central Germany. The results show a relatively better social performance compared to the reference economic sector, reflecting a relatively low rate of female employees as a major social hotspot. Several social opportunities are identified, in terms of health and safety, equal opportunities, and adequate remuneration, for the organization taking part in the value chain. Finally, considering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a global normative framework, a number of additional indicators for RESPONSA, as well as further developments and recommendations regarding its application in other regions and the upcoming social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) guidelines, are identified.
Published in: Sustainability, 10.3390/su12031259, MDPI