The Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment (PSIA) describes a consensus-based methodology to assess positive and negative social impacts of products and services on four stakeholder groups: workers, local communities, small-scale entrepreneurs and users. Uniquely, the methodology focuses on assessing social impacts of products and services over the entire value chain. This approach is sometimes also referred to a Social Lifecycle Assessment or Social LCA.

It is important to be aware of some key differences between environmental life cycle approaches and social life cycle approaches. Social LCA is not just an extension of environmental LCA. The figure below illustrates this.