Informal activity dominates the economy of many developing countries like India and its importance appears to be growing globally as the formal sector struggles to cope with the economic downturn in western markets. In India the informal economy is estimated to be responsible for between 83% and 91% of the labour force, producing around 60% of GDP.
The close linkages between environmental health, environmental impact, poverty and the informal economy are largely ignored by national and international policy making arenas where until recently the informal economy had a weak voice. The informal economy, with its close links to environmental health, is also marginalised from environmental policy.
This research project makes a contribution to the dearth in knowledge. It gathers data using the rice production supply chain as a case study and analyses this information in a novel manner. It fits methods designed to work in the formal sector to the informal economy in order to provide a type and level of analysis that has not been done before. The two key methods to be tested are life cycle assessment (LCA) and supply/value chain analysis (VCA). In this paper the authors provide a brief overview of each method, followed by an outline of how these methods are integrated to generate a novel model and method in order better to understand how the environmental, economic and labour/social relationships interact along a supply chain.
Gathorne-Hardy, A.; Hema, R. Fusing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Value Chain Analysis (VCA) in the Informal Economy. (2013) 16 pp.