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 can I balance social compliance, social responsibility, and product development?
  4. How do I execute a Product Social Impact Assessment and quantify social impacts?
  5. How do I interpret the results of a Product Social Impact Assessment to help my business become more sustainable?

The new edition of the Handbook was presented in the 6th S-LCA Conference in Pescara, Italy on September 2018 Read more about the Handbook  

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 application guidance is to help you with this. It aims to guide you through each of the steps of the product social impact assessment:

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

Tools to get started

General introduction for your company

For  a successful product social impact assessment, it is important to inform and involve the relevant departments and suppliers in the process. It helps to be clear on the value of product social impact assessment and what is needed from them. This introduction can form the basis of your communications. Download general introduction for your company. 

Step by step guidance for data collection

Data collection for a social impact assessment can be challenging this guidance takes you through the process step by step.

Download step by step guidance for data collection and processing

Data quality assessment

After data collection it is important to assess the quality of your data. We have developed a data quality matrix which can support you with this. Data quality assessment