Release of the 4th iteration of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment



 September 10th, 2018, Amersfoort, the Netherlands.


A group of multi-industry market leaders united in the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics announces the publication of the 4th iteration of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment, a practical tool for sustainability professionals. The Handbook describes an innovative, pragmatic, consensus based, but robust methodology for assessing a product’s social impacts throughout its life cycle, and is the result of a unique collaborative effort of this group of companies that collaborate in the Roundtable since 2013.


“Companies are now well aware of their dependencies on social and human capital, as they cannot operate in a society that malfunctions. At the same time they also understand that their operations and especially their supply chains can have a significant negative impact on these and other capitals. This awareness calls for a way to understand how companies and their supply chains impact such capitals. The new Handbook is designed around the need to assess the impacts that are related to the lifecycle of the products they produce”, says Mark Goedkoop of PRé Sustainability, spokesperson for the Roundtable. “In the process we developed a very good collaboration and mutual recognition with the Social and Human Capital Coalition.”


As large, multinational organisations, the Roundtable participants – ArcelorMittal, BASF, Corbion, DSM, Mahindra Sanyo, Nestlé, Solvay and Steelcase – facilitated by sustainability consulting firm PRé Sustainability – understand the need for a social impact assessment method that is capable of screening a product’s entire supply chain across continents and throughout its life cycle.


“DSM believes that companies have an increasing responsibility to address these challenges together with governments, NGO’s and consumers” said Dave Morris, Global competence leader life-cycle assessment at DSM.At DSM we provide Brighter Living Solutions; products that are measurably better than the mainstream solution on the market in terms of environmental or social impact. We measure these impacts over the full life cycle of the products. Insights from these studies show us where we can make further progress and where to target our Bright Science so we constantly improve the sustainability performance of our customers or end users. DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders. For this we need a shared, credible and broadly accepted methodology to measure the social impact of products. We are proud to be co-founder and contributor to the Roundtable that has now created the next stepping-stone towards harmonized metrics with this version 4.0 of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment.“


The 4th iteration of Handbook will be launched during the S LCA conference in Pescara, which will start on September 10th. Next to the three stakeholder groups, that were defined earlier e.g., workers, local communities and users now also small-scale entrepreneurs (under which small- holders) is added. The list of social topics and performance indicators is revised and based on a consistent analysis of the Social and Human capital dependencies. The updated methodology is reviewed by academics from the Social LC Alliance (university of Aachen (Germany), University du Québec at Montreal (Canada) and Università degli Studi, di Bari (Italy)  and experts in sustainability from the Nyenrode Universiteit and Wageningen University (The Netherlands) together with business practitioners from BASF, Evonik and BMW.


The Roundtable will after this continue in its sixth year of existence to further work on the methodology and apply it in joint case studies. “I look forward in continuing the work in the Roundtable, encouraging other companies as well to join and to work with the methods and procedures that have been worked out,” says Peter Saling, Director Sustainability Methods, BASF SE. “New case studies and applications will help to disseminate the assessment of social indicators in a holistic way supporting life-cycle assessment (LCA) and sustainability assessments for decision making, but as well for marketing and support of R&D activities.


BASF‘s success is supported by both financial and nonfinancial value drivers such as environmental, production-related, personnel and knowledge-based factors, along with the aspects of society and partnerships. We want to understand the relationship between these and derive measures to increase the positive impact of our actions and further minimizing the negative effects. As a co-founder and contributor to the Roundtable we think we have achieved with the version 4.0 of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment a document, which supports very well the assessment of social impacts in practice. Our new Social Analysis within the SEEbalance® which we launched last year, implemented a lot of aspects of the handbook”.


Next to the continuation of the Core roundtable group, a number of “Application” Roundtables will start with companies who want to gain experience around a case study.

More information about the Roundtable, the Product Social Impact Assessment Framework and trainings and workshops on the assessment of social impact can be obtained via the Roundtable website contact form.


The revised 2018 version of the Handbook was prepared by PRé Sustainability and is freely available under a CC licence (CC BY-ND 4.0) at:




About the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics:

The Roundtable for Product Social Metrics is a group of companies from different industries, facilitated by PRé Sustainability. The member companies are:

  • ArcelorMittal: Anne-Laure Hettinger
  • BASF: Peter Saling
  • Corbion: Diana Visser, Ana Morao
  • DSM Dave Morris, Alexandra Florea
  • Mahindra Sanyo Ipshita Rawat
  • Nestlé Urs Schenker, Sharla Halvorson
  • Steelcase Megann Head, Massimo Collotta
  • Solvay Dominique Debecker, Thomas Andro 


About PRé Sustainability:

PRé makes sustainability fact-based to create business value. PRé integrates sustainability into product development procedures in order to fit its customer’s strategic business goals — and create a better world.


For more information please contact:

Mr Mark Goedkoop

PRé office: +31 33 455 50 22



PRé Consultants BV

Stationsplein 121, 3818 LE, Amersfoort

The Netherlands