Ligthart, Tom; Mesa Alvarez, Catalina
The transition to a circular economy exposes the need to rethink the current materials used in most sectors and search for alternatives to increase circularity and environmental performance. With the upcoming Single-Use Plastic (SUP) ban legislation in Europe, an airline company is looking for other options to replace these products and reduce its daily operations’ carbon footprints. Understanding that this change may also bring new stakeholders into the value chain, leading to a social burden shift, a Social Life Cycle Assessment has been executed. The aim is to identify social impact footprints and social hotspots for five different cutlery alternatives: wooden cutlery, two pressed board alternatives, reusing PP (including washing cycles), with the current PP as the baseline option. The Social Hotspot Database (SHDB) is the tool selected to assess the cutlery alternatives’ social impacts. Thus, an interpretation of the semi-qualitative and quantitative social impacts was made regarding the impact categories contemplated by SHDB (i.e., labor rights and decent work, human rights, health and safety, governance, and community infrastructure). This interpretation will complement the environmental and economic consequences; additionally, it will strengthen the understanding of how the switch from fossil to biobased routes of production impacts social indicators (e.g., occupational health) that have shown significant differences in the past. Therefore, it helps to define the most sustainable alternative considering sustainability’s three pillars (people, planet, profit).