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Interrelation of food supply, environment and security - a life cycle assessment approach

Kurppa, Sirpa (2008) Interrelation of food supply, environment and security - a life cycle assessment approach. In: NJF Report, 4 (7), pp. 47-50.

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Summary

LCA is giving us a profile of the categorised environmental impacts of a product or
service through the whole production chain or chain of service activities. How
comprehensive this is, depends on the system boundaries of the particular
assessment. And at its best, LCA is not only restricted to principal system but covers
or makes linkages to periferic systems of production of process inputs (for instance
energy) and further processing of secondary or waste based products. LCA is a good
tool for development of zero-waste or carbon neutral systems. LCA is a highly
potential tool in benchmarking between various activity areas of society or economy
(Nissinen et al 2007), and in a few years it will be developed as a tool to benchmark
different food products and various brands of one category of food stuffs. By LCA such
new issues as virtual water will be easily handled.
LCA can be used in communication between food supply and demand. For that
purpose, results of LCA must be carefully modified to the cognitive frame and decision
making framework of consumer groups and stakeholders of a food chain. The
information based on LCA thinking has to be given from different sources and variable
aspects to consumers. The strongest progress will be taken if LCA is integrated into
integrated product policy (IPP) and IPP would be taken as an approach to reorient
environmental policy of food production. In that case, environmental policy would be
directly linked to food product quantity and quality, and as such linked to food
security.
But, LCA and the other neighbouring assessment systems are linking food supply
chain into more or less ‘unified’, standard environment. LCA is as poor in taking into
account diversity in natural ecological framework and in human society. Therefore it is
a fortune, that many progressive companies that first started to publish environmental
reports have very quickly extended their approach to corporate social responsibility
report. In terms of environmental assessment there is now a big challenge on one
hand in trying to develop LCA towards assessment of impacts on biodiversity and
natural resilience or ecosystem services and on the other hand to develop the
qualitative environmental assessment and integrated that into socioeconomic/cultural
approach of CRS assessments.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:food supply, environment, life cycle assessment
Subjects: Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: Finland > MTT Agrifood Research
Related Links:http://www.njf.nu
Deposited By: Koistinen, Riitta
ID Code:15788
Deposited On:05 Jun 2009
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:39
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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