The Roundtable for Product Social Metrics

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.


Be the leading, cross-sector initiative to give guidance on how to measure social impacts of products and services, in a way that is recognized for its high quality, credibility and business viability. The purpose is to improve the lives of workers, users and local communities by better insights that enables more balanced decision making.


  • Methodology is in alignment with best in class and up-to-date standards to measure social impacts
  • Methodology aims to create “shared value” for all involved stakeholders, creating economic value and value for society, taking into account the needs of all stakeholders.
  • Methodology is further developed by practicing and exchanging experiences



  • Reporting the impact of company’s activities in the area’s of the relevant SDG’s
  • Steering product portfolio’s
  • Guiding investment decisions
  • Steering engagement programs


Currently the Roundtable is working on the Phase 5. Click here for more information and other details.


5th phase

During this phase members will be working on the following cases:

  • Steelcase will work on a case to test the new topics for users also in the Circulair Economy
  • Mahindra is planning to perform a case with the new defined social topics

4th phase


  Farmers and Agriculture (coffee & guar)

Nestlé and Solvay: extension of the methodology with a fourth stakeholder group and social indicators: small-holder farmers

Case Smallholder Farmers


  Solvent free Coatings

Covestro and Steelcase: worked on measuring (positive) social impact in the user phase with a case around solvent free coatings. For data collection SupplyShift was tested out as a tool.

Coatings case study

2nd and 3rd phases

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 continued to work on solutions for cross-cutting implementation issues and exchanged experiences with other practitioners and experts. Phase 3 focused on business cases and practical implementation, data and database issues, refinement of the methodology, and support for communications.

Roundtable Phase 4: Accelerate Acceptance, Case studies and Data collection

July 2016-July 2017

Phase 4 started with a Forum on July 19th in order to interact with experts from outside the members of the Roundtable to get feedback on current Handbook and way forward. The Forum has also led to the participation of some new members in the Roundtable.

Currently the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment has been downloaded more than thousand times and is used as a basis for the chemical sector project of the WBCSD.   Phase 4 has focussed on the addition of business cases, practical implementation, data and database issues, refinement of the methodology and accelerating acceptance. In addition the current stakeholder groups will be reviewed and small-holder farmers have been added as a fourth group.

Roundtable Phase 5: Integration with SDGs, Circular Economy

In September 2017 the Roundtable Phase 5 started; during this time the members will work in an overall update of the methodology and how to integrate the social impacts with the SDGs and the Circular Economy.

Interested  industry companies who would like to participate are welcome to join the group.

Read more

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