Social life cycle assessment: mapping scientific knowledge

Social life cycle assessment (sLCA) is a methodology to support decision making on social impacts, positive and negative, actual or potential, related to product life cycles [1,2]. Being a relatively new tool, the indicators are not yet homogenized and the method does not have a standard to be followed nor a code of practice [3] [4]. Therefore, describing the state-of-the-art scientific research into sLCA is necessary to clarify the current situation and to determine future development goals [5]. The aim of this paper is, to describe the scientific trends related to sLCA through a bibliometric and a network analysis. This will enable us to identify the main collaborations and help to standardize the sLCA methodology.

Methodology: The research process consists of four steps. 1, define the search query. 2, retrieve data. 461 articles from the Scopus database and 348 from the WOS database were obtained and exported. 3, clean up the refined database. Using Vantage Point (VP) text mining software, the obtained data were cleaned up, applying fuzzy logic algorithms to clean up the data fields. 4, generate the sLCA scientific profile and the network analysis. This scientific profile will define the publication trends and academic performance, and the network analysis will allow us to determine the main collaboration relationships.

Conclusions: sLCA, as a methodology for measuring the social impacts of companies, is gaining prominence. More and more is being published on sLCA, especially since 2018. The countries doing the most research on the subject are European, with Germany leading by far, followed by Italy. Nonetheless, the United States, Canada, China and Brazil are also among the top researchers. In terms of scientific collaborations, the same countries appear as the main collaborators, although the United States ranks first as an intermediary country. The institutions that contribute the most scientific production on sLCA are mainly European universities of technology. These universities have a closed pat- tern of scientific collaboration on sLCA, i.e. they form research clusters that collaborate little with other clusters. The same is true for the main authors; research is also carried out in closed clusters. In addition, the European Union is the main economic driver of this research topic. Finally, the most frequently used keywords in the publications are those related to life cycle, assessment and sustainability.

Author(s): Naiara Pikatza Gorrotxategi, Izaskun Alvarez-Meaza, Rosa María Río-Belver, Enara Zarrabeitia Bilbao
Organization(s): University of the Basque Country.
Source: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Industrial Management and XXV Congreso de Ingeniería de Organización
Year: 2022

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