About this Research Topic
Social sustainability, as one of the three pillars of sustainability and sustainable development (economy, environment and society), has recently attracted more attention in the public dialogue, especially from researchers, policymakers, administrators, and the management level of corporate and non-governmental organizations. Unlike the economic and environmental approaches to sustainability, social sustainability assessment, analysis and measurement is still at its initial developmental stage because of various challenges. These challenges include:
(1) Certain indicators in social dimension are difficult or even impossible to be quantified directly; (2) The lack of a general standardized criteria system for social sustainability assessment, analysis and measurement;
(3) The involvement of multiple stakeholders or decision-makers (i.e. the corporate, its customers and the public);
(4) The interactions/interdependence of the indicators in social dimension and in the economic/environmental dimensions.
Social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) and Corporate social responsibility (CSR) have been widely used for social sustainability accounting. S-LCA is the most important tool for investigating the social performances, including both positive contributions and negative impacts from the life cycle perspective of a product/process. CSR, on the other hand, aims to achieve a self-regulated business model to be socially accountable and is also a new management concept in which the corporate incorporates the social, ethical, legal and environmental aspects and considers the influence on its stakeholders in management and operations.
The methods used for the assessment, analysis and measurement of social sustainability or CSR should focus on two features: (1) it is a multi-dimensional concept and (2) it involves multiple stakeholders. However, the users of S-LCA and CSR usually face four challenges: (1) what are the indicators that should be used for the assessment, analysis and measurement of social sustainability? (2) what multi-dimensional analysis methods should be used? (3) how to measure the social impacts on different stakeholders? (4) what are the benefits for the corporate when employing S-LCA or CSR on the corporate level?
The aim of this Research Topic is to improve the social sustainability assessment, analysis and measurement approaches, focusing on the indicators, methods and case studies related to social sustainability. Our goal is to help the researchers of social sustainability gain a comprehensive view on this topic. We wish to collect contributions on the following topics, but not limited to:
(1) Developing indicators/criteria/metrics for the assessment, analysis and measurement of social life sustainability or CSR.
(2) Developing multi-dimensional methods for the assessment, analysis and measurement of social life sustainability or CSR.
(3) Improving social life cycle assessment or CSR models.
(4) Analyzing and investigating the case studies related to social life cycle sustainability or CSR.
(5) Summarizing the latest development of social life cycle assessment or CSR models.
Keywords: social sustainability, social life cycle assessment, corporate social responsibility, life cycle assessment, CSR models, S-LCA, stakeholder
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