Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Waste Technology and Innovation Study

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Social Performance Assessment

International Principles for Social Impact Assessment offer some guidance to Social Performance Assessment for waste management (International Association for Impact Assessment, 2005) suggesting an approach that embodies the evaluation of all impacts on humans and on all the ways in which people and communities interact with their socio-cultural, economic and biophysical surroundings.

The approach has strong links with a wide range of specialist sub-fields that might potentially be involved in the assessment with relevance to waste management such as: aesthetic impacts (landscape analysis), archaeological and cultural heritage impacts (both tangible and non-tangible), community impacts, cultural impacts, demographic impacts, development impacts, impacts on indigenous rights, infrastructural impacts, institutional impacts, leisure and tourism impacts, political impacts, psychological impacts, resource issues (access and ownership of resources), impacts on social and human capital, and other impacts on societies.

Typically in waste decision making, the most controversial social costs are those arising from stakeholder perceptions based on private costs and their distribution, conceptions or misconceptions of nuisances and impacts, acceptability of different technologies and the effectiveness or perceived effectiveness of policies (Weidema, 2007).

While reference to specialist sub fields offers a broad view of the social impacts of waste management systems, more common impacts have been summarised to include (Wassermann et al, 2005):

  • Odour;

  • Noise;

  • Visual Impact;

  • Convenience;

  • Complexity;

  • Urban space;

  • Private Space;

  • Traffic;

  • Risk Perception;

  • Final destination;

  • Distribution and Location;

  • Employment Quality; and

  • Employment Quantity.

A streamlined social assessment scoring method is provided in Table 6 to assist decision-making.

Table 6 Social Performance – Streamlined Assessment

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