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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

A novel social life cycle assessment method for determining workers' human development: a case study of the sugarcane biorefineries in Brazil

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Souza, Alexandre [1] ; Watanabe, Marcos D. B. [1] ; Cavalett, Otavio [2] ; Cunha, Marcelo [3] ; Ugaya, Cassia M. L. [4] ; Bonomi, Antonio [1]
Total Authors: 6
[1] Brazilian Ctr Res Energy & Mat CNPEM, Brazilian Biorenewables Natl Lab LNBR, BR-13083970 Campinas, SP - Brazil
[2] Norwegian Univ Sci & Technol NTNU, Ind Ecol Programme, Dept Energy & Proc Engn, Hogskoleringen 1, N-7491 Trondheim - Norway
[3] Univ Campinas Unicamp, Inst Econ IE, Rua Pitagoras 353, BR-13083857 Campinas, SP - Brazil
[4] Fed Univ Technol Parana UTFPR, R Dep Heitor Alencar Furtado 5000, Bloco M, BR-81280340 Curitiba, Parana - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 4
Document type: Journal article
Web of Science Citations: 0

Purpose The social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) methodology needs to advance in its methodological development, mainly regarding the impact assessment phase, in which a widely accepted method is missing. The goal of this study is to introduce a social metric to evaluate the human development of workers in production chains and economic sectors. Methods The applied characterization model of the proposed social metric was inspired by the Human Development Index (HDI), whose significance and wide use make it a good proxy to express human prosperity. Similar to HDI, our indicator called Workers' Human Development Index (W-HDI) is derived from the geometric mean of the three dimensions of HDI, covering education, income, and health aspects of workers in different economic sectors linked to a given production chain. W-HDI proposal was tested by performing a case study from the sugarcane industry in Brazil, considering different sugarcane biorefinery configurations, including a couple of first-generation ethanol options and an integrated first- and second-generation ethanol production system (1G2G). Results and discussion The proposed metric was used to address the social impacts of different biorefinery scenarios. The scenario representing the first-generation ethanol production with basic technology achieved the lowest W-HDI score mostly because of the manual sugarcane harvesting system that contributed to a higher rate of occupational accidents (lower health dimension), fewer years of education, and lower wages than the other biorefinery scenarios. The highest W-HDI was obtained by the 1G2G scenario, mainly due to a more advanced technology reflected by the higher educational profile (more years of schooling) required to the workers and better wages. Additionally, our proposed W-HDI was applied in the assessment of Brazilian economic sectors, and most of them (84%) obtained medium or high development levels. Conclusions The present study contributes to the development of sustainability assessment tools by providing advances in the social life cycle assessment methodology. More specifically, the W-HDI is proposed to address the impact assessment phase with an indicator that can be applied in many sectors and production chains. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/15359-1 - Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment as a tool for Virtual Sugarcane Biorefinery
Grantee:Marcos Djun Barbosa Watanabe
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate