Social dimension of sustainability: assessment in the agribusiness context

Studies on sustainability of agribusinesses often overlook the social dimension of sustainability. The social pillar is clearly the least studied of the three traditional pillars of sustainability, and the classification and estimation of the indicators used to measure it present some weaknesses. On top of that, some social indicators lack scientific validity while others are most commonly limited to capturing intra-company realities. This paper focuses on addressing this gap by identifying the most mentioned sustainability assessment models on the literature in an agribusiness context, selecting the social indicators across the identified models and classifying those according to their thematic scope. We carry out a literature review resorting to systematic and integrative methodology, aiming at revealing the social indicators that have already been used or tested in sustainability assessments with focus on the agribusiness context. The resulting list of articles is identified according to the systematic criteria enunciated and observing the Prisma protocol. This review is then complemented by a detailed bibliometric analysis of the articles identified, which is deepened with a qualitative and quantitative content analysis using exploratory techniques that allow the visualization of semantic patterns, which may help the identification of indicators with strong relevance to the social sustainability evaluation. As a result, this paper presents information on indicators used for the assessment of Social Sustainability since 1999 to the beginning of 2022, highlighting trends in the themes addressed and changes in focus. By compiling and systematising a comprehensive series of social sustainability indicators, we aim to bring valuable contributions to the future outline of an assessment framework that will incorporate social sustainability dimensions underlying a broader perspective on agribusiness sustainability. Ultimately, this research aims at supporting the sustainable development of the sector from a social perspective.