Results and Discussion

The long walk to a more sustainable production and consumption is a trip that needs to be taken by the actors of different sectors in a participatory and harmonized manner. The automotive industry can play a strategic role in creating this partnership and cooperation and it will affect all sectors connected with the automotive one, such as metals or electronics. Many challenges still have to be faced in moving towards a comprehensive life cycle sustainability assessment of a vehicle and some of them are methodological. A relative harmonized approach is used to assess the environmental performance of a product along its life cycle according to ISO 14040/44. BMW uses the LCA not only for assessing its vehicles, but as a supporting tool to address choices and decisions along the entire development process, from product concept creation to the vehicle's start-of-production. Measurable targets for the full life cycle are identified and established in the earliest stages of the development process. These are monitored and documented during vehicle development and the results independently certified as requested by the ISO 14040 standard. Therefore the LCA is mainly used as an internal supporting decision-making tool towards a more sustainable production.

The SLCA has taken the first step towards a more harmonized approach with the Handbook of Product Social Impact Assessment, even if the scientific community has not yet found a methodological solution for all implementation steps. Indeed, according to the LCA approach, more efforts have to be made to develop characterization factors which allow the translation of the inventory indicators (such as Living Wage and Working Hours) into the impact categories (Human Well-being, or Human Dignity).

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