A Social Life Cycle Assessment as a Key to Territorial Development: A Study of the Hydrangea Crop in Colombia

Cindy Natalia Arenas, Ana Patricia Bello, Nicolás Fernando Molina, Jaime León Botero, Mariluz Betancur

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    Studying the social dynamics and development potential of agricultural enterprises is fundamental to promoting sustainable territorial growth. This study aims to assess the impact of growers of small and medium-sized hydrangea crops in the Colombian province of La Paz through a social life cycle analysis (S-LCA), shedding light on their fundamental roles as catalysts for regional development. For this purpose, the prioritization of actors and performance indicators is conducted following the methodologies proposed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Social variables are identified using the subcategory assessment method (SAM) to strengthen and assess indicators of low and high performance. Sixteen subcategories are qualitatively assessed, with 56% falling short of performance benchmarks, 25% meeting the benchmarks, 13% exceeding the benchmarks with proactive behavior, and 6% having potential with effort. Priority areas were identified as local employment and economic development contributions. This study highlights the significant impact of hydrangea production on territorial development, emphasizing the need to improve social security and health conditions for workers. Environmental actions to reduce agrochemical use are also advocated. This study proposes transforming the social life cycle analysis into an opportunity to evaluate actors’ performance and their contribution to territorial and sustainable development. It emphasizes the importance of assessing social impacts, ethical implications, and community relations throughout the crop value chain, with governance being a crucial aspect for territorial development. This study advocates the integration of these analyses into farm operations, serving as a benchmark for similar assessments across various agricultural activities.

    Idioma originalInglés
    Número de artículo4156
    PublicaciónSustainability (Switzerland)
    EstadoPublicada - may. 2024

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