Publication type: Contribution to magazine or newspaper
Title: Tools needed for sustainability evaluation : the social compatibility analysis (SCA)
Authors: Winistörfer, Herbert
Carabias-Hütter, Vicente
Published in: Waste Management and Treatment of Municipal and Industrial Waste
Volume(Issue): 2001
Issue: 5
Page(s): 533
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher / Ed. Institution: CISA
Language: English
Subjects: Social environment; Public acceptance; Social compatibility
Subject (DDC): 338.927: Environmental economics and sustainable development
Abstract: New strategies and solutions for ecoefficient energy use and material cycles, both technological and non-technological, will not only influence the ecological and the economic environment, but also the social environment. If the potential social impacts of such strategies and solutions are ignored, their successful implementation may be prevented by a lack of general public acceptance. Therefore new methods using transdisciplinary approaches are needed to take the social dimension into account for decision-making and planning. Analysis of general political and social conditions, lifestyles and patterns of consumption behaviour by employing methods of em-pirical social research have given evidence for two case-studies within waste management. In a second step, sets of indicators and criteria for social sustainability have been established. Originating from these indicators and criteria, methods and tools for the quantitative assessment of the social dimension of sustainability of new technologies and products have been developed, and can be combined with tools for the assessment of the ecological (LCA) and economic dimension of sustainability. This assessment will function as a quality control, and ensure that the innovative technologies and products/services meet social requirements and find general public acceptance for their implementation and transformation into practice. In order to include social compatibility in planning processes, a tool similar to the environmental impact assessment is being developed: The Social Compatibility Analysis (SCA). In contrast to the subjective approach where methods of the empirical social sciences are used to estimate the acceptance of those directly affected, the method proposed here is based on a set of objective evaluation criteria (e.g. discrimination, education & training, impact on inhabited areas, income distribution, information / communication, participation, transparency, risks for the population). Using the ABC-method known from business administration different priorities are assigned to the chosen criteria and to the identified partial aspects of the object of assessment respectively. The results achieved in this way reflect the subjective assessment of the user, or the consensus of a user group. The tool is therefore suitable for use in participatory processes such as acceptance dialogues as means of visualizing different evaluations and standpoints of various interest groups, thus providing a common basis for discussion and solution finding. Application of the SCA-tool in two different case-studies (planning of a waste incineration plant, conception of sewage treatment plants) within the Swiss waste management have given evidence on: SCA is a particularly valuable tool when the social dimension of a project is concerned, when the clarification of differing stakeholder assessments is needed or when sets of solutions are to be negotiated. From the legal point of view a distinction must be made between a test of social compatibility, and the participatory possibilities with which the public can advise or definitively decide on specific issues.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: School of Engineering
Organisational Unit: Center for Corporate Responsibility (CCR)
Institute of Sustainable Development (INE)
International Management Institute (IMI)
Appears in collections:Publikationen School of Engineering

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