Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment

The Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment proposes a practical methodology for organizations to assess the social impacts of products. It was developed to make it more practical and feasible for organizations to conduct product social impact assessment, using a consistent method and making efficient use of human and financial resources. By supporting the assessment of social performance, this handbook aims to enable organizations to achieve greater insight into the social impacts of their products.


The handbook answers the important questions sustainability professionals have, including:

  1. Why should I apply Product Social Impact Assessment?
  2. What are possible social impact risks that I need to mitigate?
  3. How do I execute a Product Social Impact Assessment ?
  4. How do I interpret the results of a Product Social Impact Assessment to help my business become more sustainable?


Getting started with the assessment

It can be challenging to get started with social assessment. Where do you get started and what do you need to consider?  The goal of the quick reference guide below is to help you with this. It aims to guide you through each of the steps of the product social impact assessment:

  1. Define business goal and specify initial:
    1. Boundaries of the assessment, including choosing stakeholder groups
    2. Data requirements linked to communication
  2. Perform or check materiality assessment to prioritize social topics
  3. Understand and draw the value chain
    1. Distinguish known and unknown value chain actors
    2. Use three questions to create longlist of concerns in this chain
  4. Prepare for hotspot assessment per material topic
    1. Get access to data tools and prepare for desk research
    2. Assess data
  5. Detailed PSIA assessment of hotspots (if required by business goal)