The stone industry plays an important economic role in Italy as well as worldwide, and its products are part of the construction sector for hard coverings. The relevance of these products led the European Commission to develop specific criteria for natural stone within the Ecolabel scheme for hard coverings. In order to provide environmental information and to establish and maintain their comparability, the eco-labelling schemes recognized the life cycle assessment (LCA) as a scientific method to be employed when describing the environmental performance of the products. In its current form, the European Ecolabel scheme only considers environmental impacts and overlooks significant social impacts, especially for the category of stakeholders most affected during the extraction and manufacturing phases: workers. The main purpose of this study is to define a set of social criteria to be added to the revised version of the European Ecolabel with reference to issues concerning natural stone covering products. In particular, according to the updated guidelines for the social life cycle assessment by UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative (2019), we have identified that the “health and safety” impact category as it relates to workers during the extraction and manufacturing phases of the products must be considered a priority. The results provide a set of criteria for the S-LCA inventory which should be added to the Ecolabel guidelines when assessing the natural stone covering sector. Integration of the social sphere with the results obtained from the LCA study would provide reliable and more complete information on the sustainability of the natural stone product. This represents a first step towards the inclusion of similar criteria for other covering products.

(2022). Social Life Cycle Indicators Towards a Sustainability Label of a Natural Stone for Coverings . Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10446/232652

Social Life Cycle Indicators Towards a Sustainability Label of a Natural Stone for Coverings

Palumbo, Elisabetta;
2022-01-01

Abstract

The stone industry plays an important economic role in Italy as well as worldwide, and its products are part of the construction sector for hard coverings. The relevance of these products led the European Commission to develop specific criteria for natural stone within the Ecolabel scheme for hard coverings. In order to provide environmental information and to establish and maintain their comparability, the eco-labelling schemes recognized the life cycle assessment (LCA) as a scientific method to be employed when describing the environmental performance of the products. In its current form, the European Ecolabel scheme only considers environmental impacts and overlooks significant social impacts, especially for the category of stakeholders most affected during the extraction and manufacturing phases: workers. The main purpose of this study is to define a set of social criteria to be added to the revised version of the European Ecolabel with reference to issues concerning natural stone covering products. In particular, according to the updated guidelines for the social life cycle assessment by UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative (2019), we have identified that the “health and safety” impact category as it relates to workers during the extraction and manufacturing phases of the products must be considered a priority. The results provide a set of criteria for the S-LCA inventory which should be added to the Ecolabel guidelines when assessing the natural stone covering sector. Integration of the social sphere with the results obtained from the LCA study would provide reliable and more complete information on the sustainability of the natural stone product. This represents a first step towards the inclusion of similar criteria for other covering products.
Palumbo, Elisabetta; Traverso, Marzia
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