Data… the key challenge

December 2016

A key hurdle in the use of product social metrics is to find an efficient way to collect data. This problem is more complex compared to environmental lifecycle analysis for which relatively comprehensive databases covering many industries are available. A characteristic of environmental impacts is that they are correltate with the type of process being analysed. For instance there is one way to make steel from ore via a blast furnace. Some companies do this better than others, but in essence they all have the same kind of impacts. This makes it possible to work with average impacts per kilogram steel from a certain region. When social impacts are assessed this relationship is much less clear. The social impacts of a steel company can be similar to those in a textile producer. It is the management style and not the technology that determines the impact.

In the current roundtable we take three different approaches to data collection:open_data_1_0

  1. Use already available LCA-type databases, like the social Hotspot database
  2. Use a data collection tool, like the one from Supplyshift
  3. Use a consultancy service, like ecovadis or sedex

In the next newsletter we will describe how we are now piloting with the Supplyshift tool, that has now implemented the scorecard.