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Teaching Sustainable Development to Students with Social Impact Audit Tool

Product design involves the choice of materials, the processes used to shape them, transport modes, characteristics of the way the product is used and of its disposal at end of life. All of these have environmental, economic and social implications. Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) methods have evolved to quantify the first two. Less familiar is the emerging methodology for social life cycle assessment (S-LCA), which is assuming a growing role in project planning as its importance in reaching United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is recognized.

It is not an easy subject to teach. This webinar will introduce a Social Impact Audit Tool we have developed following the UNEP/SETAC “Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) of Products” (2009). The new tool complements the Ansys GRANTA EduPack Eco Audit Tool for a streamlined LCA and costing tool. Its primary aim is one of education, introducing students to the methodology, providing data about social norms and practices in the nations of the world and providing case studies for activity-based learning.

The tool flags social hotspots highlighting the points in the life of a product at which potential harmful practices or opportunities to enhance well-being exist. It was trialed last year in two universities in the United States. On completion, the lecturers provided information on the following points:

  • Reactions of users on the value of the tool
  • Ease of use and clarity of the information provided to users
  • Changes or additional resources to make it easier to introduce S-LCA to students



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