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The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment - Call for papers for a Special Issue: The Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products and Organizations – Methodological Development and Implementations


The social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) of a product was introduced in 1996 (O'Brian M, et al. 1996) and since the beginning its concept was considered and developed as a complementary pillar of the environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) (Klöpffer 2003).  In the last 15 years, the interest at scientific and industrial level has risen and it has led to several methodological improvements and implementations in different sectors. An example of the risen interest is shown by the special issues published in this IJLCA in 2018 which consists of 30 papers on S-LCA, where theoretical developments and practical implementations in several sectors are presented (Macombe et al. 2018).

In this spectrum of progress, a further methodological Milestone is represented by the Guidelines of Social Life cycle Assessment of products and Organizations published in 2020 by UNEP (UNEP 2020). It is the result of a 5 years project coordinated by the Steering Committee of Social LC Alliance started in September 2022. Together with the UNEP 2020 Guidelines, a revised version of the Methodological Sheets (UNEP 2021) and a report on the nine pilots (UNEP LCI 2022) were published to complete the revision process.

It has driven several new implementations in diverse sectors and the development of new stakeholder categories such as: children (Chang et al. 2018) and small farmer/holder.

Another important aspect that also highlighted in the UNEP 2020 guidelines, is the necessity to define a framework for communication on social life cycle impact results towards a harmonized and comparable reporting structure.

The interest for social impact assessment has also risen at European political context, examples such as critical raw materials initiatives (Mancini et al. 2021) and the new battery norm are example where the integration of the social dimension can be found.

Taking into account the above-mentioned aspects, the main goal of this special issue is to report on achieved methodological improvements, highlight further needs and challenges as well as to establish the current state of the art in terms of implementation and communication.

Suggested topics

  • New stakeholder/impact categories necessary for a S-LCA
  • A social LCA qualitative or quantitative assessment: challenges and benefits
  • Towards a harmonized set of indicators
  • Tool and database to support a Social LCA
  • Examples of S-LCA at organizational or product level in new sectors.

How to Submit

Manuscripts should be original and written in English. The suggested length per article is up to 10,000 words, excluding references. Submission requires that the manuscript has not been submitted for review or publication elsewhere and that it will not be submitted elsewhere while the review process is underway. All papers go through peer review by at least two experts.

Papers should be submitted electronically via Please indicate that this is a submission for the “Social LCA” issue on the author checklist during the submission process. Details about the preparation of the manuscript can be obtained here:  

Guest Editors

Marzia Traverso, INaB RWTH Aachen University, Germany; Email:

Rose Nangah Mankaa, INaB RWTH Aachen University, Germany; Email:


Full paper submission deadline:  February 29, 2024


Chang, Y.-J.; Lehmann, A.; Winter, L.; Finkbeiner, M (2018). Application Options of the Sustainable Child Development Index (SCDI)—Assessing the Status of Sustainable Development and Establishing Social Impact Pathways. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1391.

Kloepffer, W., Life-Cycle Based Methods for Sustainable Product Development. Editorial for the Life Cycle Management (LCM) Section in Int. J. Life Cycle  Assess.   2003; pp 157-159.

Macombe, C., Zamagni, A. & Traverso, M. Preface. Int J Life Cycle Assess 23, 387–393 (2018).

Mancini, L., Eslava, N. A., Traverso, M., Mathieux, F.: Responsible and sustainable sourcing of battery raw materials, EUR 30174 EN. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2020). Published June 29, 2020. ISBN 978-92-76-17950-4, DOI:10.2760/562951.

O’Brian M, Doig A, Clift R (1996): Social and Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (SELCA). Int J LCA 1 (4) 231–237

UNEP, 2021. Methodological Sheets for Subcategories in Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA ) 2021. Traverso, M., Valdivia, S., Luthin, A., Roche, L., Arcese, G., Neugebauer, S., Petti, L., D’Eusanio, M., Tragnone, B.M., Mankaa, R., Hanafi, J., Benoît Norris, C., Zamagni, A. (eds.). United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Published December, 2021.

UNEP, 2020. Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products and Organizations 2020. Benoît Norris, C., Traverso, M., Neugebauer, S., Ekener, E., Schaubroeck, T., Russo Garrido, S., Berger, M., Valdivia, S., Lehmann, A., Finkbeiner, M., Arcese, G.(eds.). United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Published December 2020.