Social Life Cycle Assessment in the South African Sugar Industry: Issues and Views

Takalani Musundwa Nemarumane, Charles Mbohwa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The South African sugar industry is one of the world’s leading cost-competitive producers of high- quality sugar and makes an important contribution to employment and sustainable socioeconomic development, particularly in rural areas, as well as to the national economy. The South African sugar industry is divided into growers and millers. South Africa produces its sugar from sugar cane, which is a tall tropical grass with thick, solid, tough stems that are a chief commercial source of sugar. The objectives of the study were directed by the guidelines on social life cycle assessment of products developed by the United Nations Environmental Programme and SETAC initiatives. The data were collected using field research, historic comparative research, interviews and questionnaires. The analysis and validation data was done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software. The impacts identified and discussed were health and safety, gender equality, and wages; these impacts were analyzed in terms of descriptives and factor matrix. The employers in the sugar industry provide full independence of the operations and procedures of the existing associations, but do not encourage their workers to become members. It was found that workers do not have wage-related incentives, and that wages have not increased in the past 2 years. The workers reported that they have been discriminated against due to their genders; it was also found that male workers were favored by employers as compared to women, with regard to remuneration, training and development, and promotional opportunities. It was also found that the workers are exposed to unpleasant smells and dust particles in their working environment. Recommendations were made to enable favorable working conditions for both employers and employees.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Footprints and Eco-Design of Products and Processes
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameEnvironmental Footprints and Eco-Design of Products and Processes
ISSN (Print)2345-7651
ISSN (Electronic)2345-766X


  • Gender equality
  • Health and safety
  • Sugar production
  • Wages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Social Life Cycle Assessment in the South African Sugar Industry: Issues and Views'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this