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Towards more ecoefficient food production: MFA approach

Risku-Norja, H.; Mäenpää, I.; Koikkalainen, K.; Rikkonen, P. and Vanhala, P. (2002) Towards more ecoefficient food production: MFA approach. Paper at: Farming and rural systems research and extension - local identities and globalisation : 4th European IFSA symposium, Florence, Italy.

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PDF - Published Version - English

Document available online at: http://ifsa.boku.ac.at/cms/fileadmin/Proceeding2002/2002_WS01_11_Risku-Norja.pdf


The key for the sustainable development is dematerialisation and ecoefficiency. Applied to
agriculture ecoefficiency means production of nutritionally better food by using less inputs
and by reducing the environmental burden. In restricting the material throughput it is essential
to identify the most voluminous material flows and to direct the measures to them. Improving
ecoefficiency of the food production requires that the benefits and the inputs are quantified in
an unambiguous way and that the inputs are estimated for the whole production chain. A
comprehensive view of the whole system is necessary.
The food system comprises four mutually linked loops: 1) the plant production 2) the
livestock husbandry, 3) the food processing industry and 4) the human consumption. In the
present paper MFA approach has been used to describe the system. A general framework for
estimating and balancing the materials flow is outlined. The focus is on agriculture,
specifically on the materials flow created by the biological metabolism of the animal
The holistic MFA approach provides means to evaluate environmental and economic
consequences of the production. For the decision-makers the MFA approach is a tool to guide
the development and to assess the progress towards increasing ecoefficiency within the food
system. The results can be used in developing new sustainability indicators. Some of the
possibilities are shortly discussed.
The study is the first step in developing MFA methods to analyse and to monitor the materials
flow of the Finnish food systems. It is a part of the project “The Materials Flow and
Ecoefficiency of Agriculture and the Sustainable Compatibility of the Food Production”
carried out in collaboration between the MTT - Agrifood Research Finland and the Thule
Institute at the University of Oulu. The results are used also in compiling the Finnish physical
input-output tables. The study, thus, contributes to the overall development of the materials
flow accounting statistics.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:agriculture, ecoefficiency, food system, material flow accounting (MFA)
Subjects: Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
Deposited By: Koistinen, Riitta
ID Code:17586
Deposited On:17 Sep 2010 07:08
Last Modified:17 Sep 2010 07:08
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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