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RSS FeedsSustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3193: Social Hotspot Analysis and Trade Policy Implications of the Use of Bioelectrochemical Systems for Resource Recovery from Wastewater (Sustainability)

 
 

13 september 2018 13:00:17

 
Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3193: Social Hotspot Analysis and Trade Policy Implications of the Use of Bioelectrochemical Systems for Resource Recovery from Wastewater (Sustainability)
 




Bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) have been catalogued as a technological solution to three pressing global challenges: environmental pollution, resource scarcity, and freshwater scarcity. This study explores the social risks along the supply chain of requisite components of BESs for two functionalities: (i) copper recovery from spent lees and (ii) formic acid production via CO2 reduction, based on the UK’s trade policy. The methodology employed in this study is based on the UNEP/SETAC guidelines for social life-cycle assessment (S-LCA) of products. Relevant trade data from UN COMTRADE database and generic social data from New Earth’s social hotspot database were compiled for the S-LCA. The results revealed that about 75% of the components are imported from the European Union. However, the social risks were found to vary regardless of the magnitude or country of imports. “Labour and Decent Work” was identified as the most critical impact category across all countries of imports, while the import of copper showed relatively higher risk than other components. The study concludes that BESs are a promising sustainable technology for resource recovery from wastewater. Nevertheless, it is recommended that further research efforts should concentrate on stakeholder engagement in order to fully grasp the potential social risks.


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65 viewsCategory: Ecology
 
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