The carbon footprint of stone fruit production: Comparing process-based life cycle assessment and environmentally extended input-output analysis

Núñez Cárdenas, Pablo and San Miguel Alfaro, Guillermo and Bañales Chacaliaza, Brigitte and Álvarez Gallego, Sergio and Diezma Iglesias, Belen and Correa Hernando, Eva Cristina (2022). The carbon footprint of stone fruit production: Comparing process-based life cycle assessment and environmentally extended input-output analysis. "Journal of Cleaner Production", v. 381 (n. 1); p. 135130. ISSN 1879-1786. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.135130.

Description

Title: The carbon footprint of stone fruit production: Comparing process-based life cycle assessment and environmentally extended input-output analysis
Author/s:
  • Núñez Cárdenas, Pablo
  • San Miguel Alfaro, Guillermo
  • Bañales Chacaliaza, Brigitte
  • Álvarez Gallego, Sergio
  • Diezma Iglesias, Belen
  • Correa Hernando, Eva Cristina
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Journal of Cleaner Production
Date: 2022
ISSN: 1879-1786
Volume: 381
Subjects:
Freetext Keywords: Cost inventory, Material-energy inventory, Greenhouse gases emissions, Agricultural sustainability, Nectarine
Faculty: E.T.S. de Ingeniería Agronómica, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas (UPM)
Department: Ingeniería Agroforestal
UPM's Research Group: Técnicas Avanzadas en Agroalimentación LPF-TAGRALIA
Creative Commons Licenses: None

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Abstract

The development of sustainable products and practices must be supported by methodologies capable of evaluating their environmental performance in an objective and systematic manner. The most popular tool for carbon footprint (CF) assessment is arguably process-based life cycle assessment (pLCA). However, interest in tools such as environmentally extended input-output analysis (EEIOA) is growing rapidly due to the convenience of using economic-based inventories rather than material/energy-based ones. The objective of this investigation is to evaluate divergences between conventional pLCA and EEIOA in the analysis of CF using the production of stone fruits as a case study. The study uses a cradle to grave approach and it is based on a detailed economic, material and energy life cycle inventory of nectarines produced in Southeast Spain. The analyses yielded 1.07Â kg CO2 eq./kg for the EEIOA and 0.899Â kg CO2 eq./kg for the pLCA. This difference, which might sound acceptable, is due to the compensation of larger opposing discrepancies in the various stages and processes that make up the product life cycle. Thus, pLCA yielded significantly higher total CF emissions than EEIOA (0.23 EEIOA/pLCA ratio) in the upstream stage (agricultural and packaging processes). The opposite is observed in the core stage, where EEIOA carbon emissions were significantly higher than those calculated by pLCA (4.38 EEIOA/pLCA ratio). Differences in the downstream stage (mainly distribution and storage, and EoL phase) were less notable (1.40 EEIOA/pLCA ratio). Economic-based inputs, used in EEIOA (such as labour and service costs) and unaccounted for in pLCA, may be partly responsible for such divergences, while others should be linked to differences in the impact assessment procedures followed by each of these methodologies. These results raise some doubts about the potential of EEIOA and calls for further research on the validity, complementarity and the application domains of these methodologies. In any case, both modelling approaches agree in identifying the distribution and storage life cycle stages as main contributors to carbon emissions, calling for the implementation of measures to promote the consumption of seasonal and local fruit.

Funding Projects

TypeCodeAcronymLeaderTitle
Government of SpainRTI2018-099139-B-C22KARPO LIFEUnspecifiedUnspecified

More information

Item ID: 72166
DC Identifier: https://oa.upm.es/72166/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:72166
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.135130
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652622047047
Deposited by: Titular Universidad Eva Cristina Correa Hernando
Deposited on: 02 Dec 2022 08:52
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2022 08:52
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