The Roundtable for Product Social Metrics

The Roundtable for Product Social Metrics is a business-led initiative dedicated to developing and disseminating the Product Social Impact Assessment method, designed to make the social benefits and burdens of a product visible.
The Roundtable aims to create a standard framework for Product Social Impact Assessment, in close cooperation with external stakeholders such as academia, NGOs, governments and industry organisations

Product Social Impact Assessment helps companies to identify the social impacts throughout the life cycle of a product or service. The method supports the identification of social hotspots and improvement opportunities, including risks in supply chains, production, use phase and end of life. The method also allows companies to identify both the negative and the positive impacts, which is the basis for strengthening the positive impacts and better managing the negative impacts. In this way, Product Social Impact Assessment can be a business driver and a source of inspiration for product innovation.


Roundtable members conducted pilots to test the methodology during the 2nd and 3rd phases of the project

Roundtable for Product Social Metrics |Serum and hand Cream

  Serum and handcream

Roundtable for Product Social Metrics |Task Chair Component

  Task chair component

 Roundtable for Product Social Metrics |Tire



 Bleaching chemical




 Tapered roller bearing


 Car support structure


 Hair care product

Roundtable Phases

We are currently in the third phase of the Roundtable. As of 2016, the Roundtable will take on a new structure, and become a membership-based, stakeholder-led organisation.

Roundtable Phase 1: Harmonize methodology and develop handbook 1.0

January – August 2013
The first phase of the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics started with seven companies: Ahold, BASF, BMW Group, DSM, Goodyear, Philips and RB. Roundtable Phase 1 resulted in version 1.0 of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment, which included the Product Social Impact Assessment methodology and performance indicators. Version 1.0 also included principles for impact assessment, and social topics were discussed and selected. As version 1.0 was still in an early stage of development, it required additional features to improve usability the methodology. Before finalizing version 1.0, the Roundtable invited experts from external organizations to provide feedback on how the handbook could be improved.

Roundtable Phase 2: Refine handbook, share & align

October 2013 – July 2014
In Phase 2, five new companies (AkzoNobel, L’Oréal, Marks & Spencer, Steelcase and a chemical company) joined the Roundtable, also providing feedback on Handbook version 1.0. Their feedback and that from external parties in Phase 1 was processed in the Phase 2 of the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics. As a result, the Roundtable:

  • improved the definitions of social topics and performance indicators,
  • included reference values and reference scales to support the assessment, and
  • provided guidance for communications and examples of applications

After this refinement, the handbook was tested by the participants of the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics and fine-tuned. This resulted in Handbook version 2.0, which has been made publicly available and can be downloaded here.

Roundtable Phase 3: Support implementation

December 2014-December 2015
The Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment is available for sustainability professionals in all industries to get started on product social impact assessment today. The Roundtable itself will continue to work on solutions for cross-cutting implementation issues and exchange experiences with other practitioners and experts.Phase 3 will focus on business cases and practical implementation, data and database issues, refinement of the methodology, and support for communications. Roundtable Phase 3 has started but industry companies are  still welcome to join the group.

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Join the Roundtable for Product Social Impact Assessment

  • Be recognised as pioneering member of this important initiative
  •  Share experiences with peer
  • Access the latest developments
  • Stay ahead of future demands and changing markets
  • Confidently use social metrics in communication about your products