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Understanding social impacts

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 more than 50 social indicators, and additional 30 upcoming.

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 almost 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, first version of the database contains information on 54 qualitative and quantitative social aspects addressing 18 subcategories. These subcategories relate to four main stakeholders:  workers, value chain actors, local community, and society.

Transparent Assessment

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.

Up-to-date Information

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.

Sustainable Approach

To ensure a long-term maintenance of PSILCA in a quickly changing social environment and to update around one million datasets regularly, a suitable approach is necessary from the start. To reflect this, PSILCA is based on a technically and organisationally sustainable methodology, i.e.a flexible and interactive approach of database development.

Two councils are established to guarantee that PSILCA meets scientific and user requirements. The Scientific Advisory Council (SAC), consisting of renowned research institutions in the field, provides feedback on the selected approach and planned methodological updates of the database. The User Advisory Council (UAC) comprises interested industrial and academic users. Providing practical feedback regarding user friendliness and data needs, the UAC steers database development and maintenance. Besides methodological feedback, both councils can also supply datasets for specific countries or social indicators. This makes sure PSILCA contains as current and detailed information as possible.

Further information

Attend our free webinar

To find out more about PSILCA, just have a look at our free webinar. You will learn how the database is used in different software systems, discover typical use cases, and see how you can use it for your own case study.

Participate in a training

To gain further insights into Social LCA, the PSILCA database, or its use in specific cases, you can participate in one of our trainings – in our office in Berlin, in-house in your company, or as a web training. Check out our course dates or contact us directly for an individual training.

Purchase a license

To purchase a license please visit our Nexus online shop. Here you can select between single- and multi- user license types for academic and business users. Further, PSILCA is offered in three different variants for SimaPro and openLCA.

Contact us

This is the very first version of the PSICLA website, more content will be added soon. We invite you to visit our website soon again to discover more about PSILCA.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding PSILCA or Social LCA, just contact us by filling out the following form.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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