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The trade-off between scope and precision in sustainability assessments of food systems

Schader, Christian; Meier, Matthias; Grenz, Jan and Stolze, Matthias (2012) The trade-off between scope and precision in sustainability assessments of food systems. Paper at: The 10th European IFSA Symposium, Aarhus, Denmark, 1-4 July 2012 . [Completed]

PDF - English

Online at: http://www.ifsa2012.dk/downloads/WS6_1/Schader.pdf


With sustainability becoming an increasingly important issue, several tools have been developed, promising to assess sustainability of farms and farming systems. However, looking closer at the scope, the level of assessment and the precision of indicators used for impact assessment we discern considerable differences between the sustainability impact assessment tools at hand. The aim of this paper is therefore to classify and analyse six different sustainability impact assessment tools with respect to the assessment level, the scope and the precision. From our analysis we can conclude that there is a trade-off between scope and precision of these tools. Thus one-size-fits-all solutions with respect to tool selection are rarely feasible. Furthermore, as the indicator selection determines the assessment results, different and inconsistent indicators could lead to contradicting and not comparable assessment results. To overcome this shortcoming, sustainability impact assessments should disclose the methodological approach as well as the indictor sets use and aim for harmonisation of assumptions.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Sustainability, Scope, agriculture, Sozio-Ökonomie, Nachhaltigkeit
Subjects: Farming Systems
Food systems > Markets and trade
Research affiliation: Switzerland > HAFL
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Socio-Economics > Agripolicy
Related Links:http://ifsa2012.dk/?page_id=792, http://www.fibl.org/en/themes/sustainability-assessment.html
Deposited By: Schader, Dr. Christian
ID Code:21181
Deposited On:20 Feb 2013 22:14
Last Modified:28 Feb 2013 16:14
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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