Whereas the business evolution of environmental sustainability metrics and methodology has advanced significantly over the past decade, social sustainability at product level is still relatively immature. Research continues to support the front runners on organisational sustainability, while workable solutions at product level and complex issues have not yet been addressed sufficiently. Triggered by these practical dilemmas, a group of experts from large companies decided to join forces, initiating the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics.
Starting in early 2013, this working group aimed to i) consolidate principles for product social sustainability assessment and harmonise approaches, ii) align with other global initiatives and share with other companies and iii) develop solutions for cross-cutting implementation issues. The results of the first two phases of the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics are documented in this handbook, which proposes a practical methodology for organisations to assess the social impacts of products, building on existing standards at global level. In addition, given the Roundtable’s wish to achieve broader consensus and credibility, this document reflects the development process as well as the end results.