Blue chips develop product social impact assessment

A group of 12 multinational companies including, L'Oréal and Marks & Spencer and AkzoNobel have launched a new handbook that assesses a product's social impact throughout its lifecycle.

The Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment is a free practical tool that allows sustainability professionals to assess a product’s entire lifecycle, scan their supply chains for risks and improvement opportunities and improve sustainable product development, reporting and communication. (Scroll down for free download).

It has been published by the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics, which also comprises of BMW Group, Philips and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The Roundtable claims that the Handbook is the first cross-industry publication of its kind to offer a practical, objective methodology for product social impact assessment.

“Stakeholders increasingly demand transparency about the social impacts of products,” João Fontes of PRé Sustainability, spokesperson for the Roundtable. “As supply chains and product life cycles span the world, businesses need a practical, reliable way to systematically analyse risks and identify improvement opportunities.”

Further improvements

AkzoNobel’s senior sustainability specialist Carmen Alvarado added: “Having the ability to measure our products’ social impacts will enable us to better understand how our operations are impacting the lives of the people we work with.

“Ultimately this process will enable us to identify areas that require attention and drive further improvements.”

The Roundtable will now focus on Phase III of the project: finding solutions for cross-cutting implementation issues, exchanging experiences with other practitioners and experts, and continuing to improve the methodology.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s global manager of environmental sustainability Dave Woodyard added: “This method is a first step towards measurable social sustainability at a product level, and the Roundtable will continue to refine it in Phase III. The handbook is a starting point for any business wanting to differentiate and create value through social impact assessment.”

Download the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment for free here.

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