John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Social life cycle assessment and participatory approaches: A methodological proposal applied to citrus farming in Southern Italy

Recently, Social Life Cycle Assessment (S‐LCA) has been developed under the methodological framework of Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) in order to evaluate the social impacts that emerge during the overall life cycle of a product or service. There is not yet a standardised methodology for S‐LCA as there is for environmental LCA (eLCA), because the social impacts S‐LCA is concerned with not only depend on production processes themselves, but often on actors' behaviour and context. One of the most critical steps in the application of S‐LCA concerns the choice of criteria for selecting affected actors, impact categories, subcategories and the taxonomic relation among them. Moreover, the importance (in terms of weight) of these impacts may be felt differently by affected actors, confirming the importance of the context within which impacts arise. In this sense, the integration of participatory tools can be useful in making the S‐LCA more locally relevant. The aim of the present study is twofold. Firstly, we will outline a methodology that combines S‐LCA with two research tools. The first is the focus group, adopted from qualitative research. The second is the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), adopted from operational research, which belongs to the framework of Multicriteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). These have been employed in order to make the S‐LCA more locally relevant and to legitimate the criteria used. Secondly, we will test this methodology by applying it to a specific field, i.e. three production areas and three different crop systems of citrus growing in the Calabria region in Southern Italy. Citrus growing is one of the most important agricultural sectors at regional level, and it is also well known for issues of social concern, particularly in relation to immigrant workers. The results show a number of differences between cases, and could offer useful insights to both local decision‐makers, such as agricultural entrepreneurs, and to those public decision‐makers that design and implement territorial planning strategies. Results have allowed the authors to rank the social performance of each case, and to reflect on the most critical steps in conducting an S‐LCA. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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