Social and Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (SELCA) Method for Sustainability Analysis: The Jeans Global Value Chain as a Showcase

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In this chapter the concepts of social life cycle assessment and combined social and environmental LCA were explored through the application of existing LCA methods to the global value chain of jeans. The social and environmental life cycle assessment (SELCA) method resulted from this explorative research that aims to contribute to the battery of impact assessment tools of products whose value chain scope is multinational (global). From a broader perspective, SELCA has a double-folded purpose to (i) identify opportunities for environmental and social improvement at any of the value chain phases of products, for remediation goals, and (ii) predict the environmental and social performance of different ways (scenarios) to produce the same product, using it as a product design tool. To simplify SELCA development, it was decided to use a single product (jeans) as a showcase from the global textile sector. In this showcase, four scenarios for jeans assembly were compared; three of them were defined under the circular economy principles by including recycled materials (cotton, PET and nylon 6) during the yarn production. During the application of the SELCA method, some new challenges were encountered related to inventory analysis, in particular during data acquisition for social inventories. This is later mainly due to the extensive list of key stakeholders for the showcase and the qualitative nature of social metrics. This list starts with cotton cultivators from different countries where regulations and codes of conduct seem to have contextualised interpretations and consequently different levels of implementation. In this regard, governmental intervention to instrument the transition towards suitable social/environmental performance along the global jeans value chain was also discussed in this chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTowards Zero Waste
Subtitle of host publicationCircular Economy Boost, Waste to Resources
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-92931-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


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