Sustainability assessment methods based on life cycle thinking are commonly applied to measure sustainability impacts of goods, services and organizations. However, most of the established assessment methods, such as LCA, carbon footprint and water footprint are focused on measuring pollution and resource use, and as such, have a negative point of view. To encourage companies and consumers in transition towards more sustainable practices, methods for positive sustainability assessment are needed.
These methods are especially important for forerunner companies, who need means for communicating about the positive impacts of their actions and potential innovations. Measuring positive contribution towards sustainability would be useful also for SME's and start up's focusing their business around environmental innovations. All actors along the supply chain could be motivated to improve their performance if there were an indicator to measure the good they could do.
Handprint is a new concept that has been proposed as a measurement of "a net positive action and beneficial environmental and social impacts". At the moment, only a few examples of handprint related studies can be found globally, and there is a need to develop common calculation principles and guidelines which are based on scientific methods and principles. To avoid greenwashing the handprint calculation principles will be founded on life cycle thinking and life cycle assessment addressing the full value chain of a product.