Breaking ground through social impact

Marzia Traverso, founder of Circular s.r.l., was a part of the beginning of the very first Social Product Declaration and PCR moderator for the SPD PCR.

In 2021, Davide Bonaffini from the Italian manufacturer Hitachi Rail approached Marzia Traverso about a Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) for rolling stock. Early on, there was also a discussion about incorporating the assessment in an EPD-like process to create the world’s first SPD – Social Product Declaration. Where an EPD declares environmental impact, an SPD declares the social impact of a product or service. The declaration takes into consideration the impact on workers, local communities and users.

Together with the expertise of Mechanical and Acoustic Engineer Antonio Covais (founder and CEO of Circular s.r.l.) and Environmental Engineers Cinzia Capitano and Maria Concetta Pedalá, the team finished a complete S-LCA of rolling stock in 2022. With a finished S-LCA, Marzia approached two programme operators about creating an SPD and EPD International rose to the challenge.

The process of developing an SPD PCR (Product Category Rules) for rolling stock and creating the SPD based on the PCR took a little over a year for the team including Mario Alessi, BA of International Relationships. Creating the PCR was quite a different process from a “regular” EPD PCR, with a need to create consensus for a completely new format. During the consultation process, the document went back and forth in a learning process for both the committee and EPD International, with PCR Manager Gustav Sandin at the helm. Finally, the document was revised and audited with auditor Claudia Peña from the EPD hub in Latin America.

When Marzia was asked about the future for S-LCA and SPDs, she sees a bright future. The interest is growing and the request for S-LCA services is increasing. Especially for products high in demand such as textiles, food and electricity where a SPDs can be used in communication between businesses, and toward consumers looking for transparent information about the social impact of a product.