Social Life Cycle Assessment in the Textile Sector: An Italian Case Study
This study presents the first application of the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) to a textile product made in Sicily (Italy), according to the Social Life Cycle Assessment guidelines (UNEP). The main goal is to assess and present the social values of a product manufactured in a particular territorial area where the presence of an industry represents the main source of employment. The first part of the study is a literature review of the current state of the art of the S-LCA and its
... tation to textile products. In the implementation, particular attention is paid in identifying the positive impacts and in highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the method when applied in this specific sector. The functional unit of the study is an order for a garment (consisting of 495 capes in a soft blend of wool and cashmere), produced by a textile company located in Sicily (Italy). The system boundaries of the study include all phases from cradle-to-gate, i.e. from raw material production through fabric/accessory production to the manufacturing process of the product itself at the company. Background and foreground processes are taken into account using specific and generic data. Two stakeholder groups have been considered (workers and local communities) as those that can better represent the company's value in the territory. The analysis carried out on the functional unit of the study allowed assessing social performance related to the specific textile product, but also to outline the general behaviour of the company. Results offer to scholars a perspective on which to focus their future researches in the sector and highlight that S-LCA is a valuable tool to support business decisions, assessing the social impact of the product to improve the social conditions of stakeholders. However, the access to primary and/or good quality local, national and global data is essential to draw credible conclusions; consequently, every effort to promote the application for S-LCA is highly suggested.