Discover PSILCA – the new database for Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA)!
PSILCA – the Product Social Impact Life Cycle Assessment database – is an innovative database for Social LCA developed by GreenDelta. It provides transparent and up-to-date information on social aspects of products over their life cycles, for almost 15,000 industry sectors and commodities and for 69 qualitative and quantitative indicators.
PSILCA allows calculation and assessment of the social impacts of products along the products’ entire life cycles, considering global supply chains and services, and to detect social hotspots.
The Structure of the World’s Economy in a Database
Since product life cycles nowadays are global, also a database aiming to represent life cycles needs to capture the global economy in a reasonable, not too coarse resolution. Based on the multi-regional input/output model of the Eora database, PSILCA covers a total of 14,838 sectors for 189 countries.
It is, therefore, the most comprehensive database for Social LCA on the market.
For most countries, the sectors provided are specific, i.e. different from one country to another. This maximises the information that can be shown and is available in the database. For roughly one third of the countries in PSILCA, where information is not broadly available, an equal, basic set of 26, rather broad sectors is applied.
Complete Indicator Set
Which social phenomena are considered to be important and have to be observed in a study might differ between projects, societies or even researchers. Therefore, many projects about social impacts of products start with yet another compilation and synopsis of social measures. A final, agreed list of indicators does not exist yet. In order to make the database broadly applicable, PSILCA aims to cover all social aspects that are nowadays in discussion.
The current, third version of the database contains information on 69 qualitative and quantitative social aspects addressing 19 subcategories. These subcategories relate to four main stakeholders: workers, value chain actors, local community, and society.
In every PSILCA variant (Starter, Professional and Developer), social indicators are provided at least as risk-assessed elementary flows. However, the objective is to provide data and data collection methods as transparently as possible. Hence, every dataset contains information on its source, the year of the specific data point, and the overall evaluation scheme.
Depending on the database variant, additional information about raw values and data quality is provided per country-specific sector. Thus, not only the assessed risk values are available, but also the specific amount of an indicator. As a consequence, the risk assessment can be changed by every user, reflecting e.g. specific goal and sope settings of a case study.
Social data is not static. Economic structures, political constellations and legislation, and not the least company management practices are subject to constant changes, especially in emerging countries. For example, health and safety conditions at the workplace can be quickly improved by the introduction of new machines or technologies whereas social benefits might be drastically reduced due to an economic crisis. Sudden migration waves can alter the labour market within a few months, a new coal mine can change the life of local communities forever…
Therefore, PSILCA always strives to use the most current data available at the moment of data collection. Datasets are updated on a regular basis, typically once per year. Further, older values are reflected by a lower data quality indicators in order to consider the age of data even in the result.
A direct quantification of indicators
For version 3, GreenDelta has developed an innovative and so far unique approach which enables users to calculate social risks based on the initial value and unit of each indicator. For example, the result for child labor is now given in %. This means that results are not quantified with working hours as activity variable anymore which is a great advancement in Social LCA. The direct approach is available for the developer and the professional variant of PSILCA v3.
PSILCA is available in three variants: Starter, Professional and Developer, all accessible via openLCA Nexus. The variants correlate with a higher exactness of the results due to decreasing cut-off numbers, and with a higher transparency. For the professional and the developer version, it´s possible to get insights to the raw values of indicators (not only to the assessed risk), to change the overall risk evaluation scheme and to use the raw values for the direct quantification approach which is available since the release of version 3. Furthermore, the developer version comes with additional data quality information about processes.
If you´re not sure what is the right variant for your specific purpose, feel free to contact us.
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