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Life cycle inventory analysis of fresh tomato distribution systems in Japan considering the quality aspect

Authors:
  • University of Guelph; and GAIC Guelph

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Life cycle of fresh tomato was evaluated to determine CO2 emissions during its cultivation and distribution. Low temperature (LT) and modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) were compared for their effect on quality. Road and sea transport were also compared. The method of cultivation and transport and the distribution systems affected the overall life cycle inventory (LCI, CO2 emissions). Life cycle inventory was larger for greenhouse produce than for that raised under plastic cover and larger for produce transported by road than for that transported by sea. The distance between production and consumption area affected the LCI significantly. It is worthwhile to note that MAP would not be environmentally acceptable over LT packaging in the case of tomatoes transported by road over a distance shorter than 2000 km although such transport does not require any cooling during transport and storage: MAP would be a better option in the case of sea transport beyond 1000 km. The distance over which MAP is the better option is thus dependent on the mode of transport because the two modes of transport differ in speed and, therefore, in emissions. A change in cultivation from greenhouse to plastic cover, in transport from road to sea, and in packaging from LT to MAP is required to minimize the LCI and would abate approximately 0.14–0.24 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year from Japan.
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Life cycle inventory analysis of fresh tomato distribution systems
in Japan considering the quality aspect
Poritosh Roy, Daisuke Nei, Hiroshi Okadome, Nobutaka Nakamura,
Takahiro Orikasa, Takeo Shiina
*
Distribution Engineering Laboratory, Food Engineering Division, National Food Research Institute, Kannondai 2-1-12, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki 305-8642, Japan
Received 30 November 2006; received in revised form 23 September 2007; accepted 25 September 2007
Available online 10 October 2007
Abstract
Life cycle of fresh tomato was evaluated to determine CO
2
emissions during its cultivation and distribution. Low temperature (LT)
and modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) were compared for their effect on quality. Road and sea transport were also compared. The
method of cultivation and transport and the distribution systems affected the overall life cycle inventory (LCI, CO
2
emissions). Life cycle
inventory was larger for greenhouse produce than for that raised under plastic cover and larger for produce transported by road than for
that transported by sea. The distance between production and consumption area affected the LCI significantly. It is worthwhile to note
that MAP would not be environmentally acceptable over LT packaging in the case of tomatoes transported by road over a distance
shorter than 2000 km although such transport does not require any cooling during transport and storage: MAP would be a better option
in the case of sea transport beyond 1000 km. The distance over which MAP is the better option is thus dependent on the mode of trans-
port because the two modes of transport differ in speed and, therefore, in emissions. A change in cultivation from greenhouse to plastic
cover, in transport from road to sea, and in packaging from LT to MAP is required to minimize the LCI and would abate approximately
0.14–0.24 million tonnes of CO
2
emissions a year from Japan.
Ó2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Life cycle of fresh tomato; Distribution systems; CO
2
emission; Japan
1. Introduction
The food industry is one of the world’s largest industrial
sectors and hence a large consumer of energy. Generally,
energy consumption leads to environmental pollution.
There is increased awareness that the environmentally con-
scious consumer of the future would include ecological and
ethical criteria in choosing food products (Andersson et al.,
1994). It is thus essential to evaluate the environmental
impact and the utilization of resources in, food production
and distribution systems for sustainable consumption.
Consumers in the developed countries demand safe food
of high quality that has been produced with minimal
adverse impact on the environment (Boer, 2002). In Japan,
top priority is given to freshness, followed by quality and
then by price (Shiina, 2001). Therefore, controlled and
quick distribution is necessary for fresh foods. Refrigerated
trucks are the main mode of transport in the so-called
‘‘cold chainof distribution of fresh foods including toma-
toes. Japan produced about 800,000 t of tomatoes in 2002,
which were mostly consumed fresh. Per capita annual con-
sumption of tomato in 2000 was estimated at 5.6 kg and
projected to increase (MAFF, 2000). In Japan, tomatoes
are produced under either ambient conditions (plastic
cover) or controlled conditions (greenhouse), depending
upon the season and the location. Greenhouse cultivation
is required to ensure a round-the-year supply of fresh
tomato. Tomatoes are produced in different prefectures
and shipped through different distribution channels.
In 2004, energy consumption of different sectors was as
follows: industrial, 45%; commercial and residential, 31%;
0260-8774/$ - see front matter Ó2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2007.09.033
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +81 29 838 8027; fax: +81 29 838 7996.
E-mail address: shiina@affrc.go.jp (T. Shiina).
www.elsevier.com/locate/jfoodeng
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
Journal of Food Engineering 86 (2008) 225–233
and transport, 24% (ANRE, 2005). This large-scale con-
sumption is reported to be the main cause of CO
2
emis-
sions. Food production, preservation, and the cold-chain
distribution system consume a considerable amount of
energy, which contributes to total CO
2
emissions. Accord-
ing to the Kyoto Protocol, Japan has agreed to reduce her
emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 6% of the 1990-
level by 2012; reducing her energy-derived CO
2
emissions
to the same level as that in 1990 is a prerequisite to achiev-
ing this target. Moreover, with the growing awareness
about the environment and quality of produce, a compar-
ative study of different food supply systems is desirable to
choose a system that is environment-friendly and sustain-
able. This study attempts to evaluate the life cycle of fresh
tomatoes in Japan to determine if CO
2
emissions can be
abated.
2. LCA studies on tomato and tomato products
The growing concern about sustainable food production
and consumption prompted different research activities on
systems of food production and distribution including
those for agricultural produce. At the same time, interna-
tional trade in food products also continues to increase.
Foster et al. (2006) summarize a number of LCA studies
on different fruits and vegetables, including fresh tomato
and tomato products, to help in developing government
policy for sustainable consumption and production. It
has been reported that the method of cultivation (green-
house or open field, organic or conventional, and hydro-
ponic or soil-based), variety, and packaging and
distribution all affect the LCI of tomato (Stanhill, 1980;
Andersson et al., 1998; NIAES, 2003; Anto
´n et al., 2005;
Williams et al., 2006). The studies vary widely on emissions
from cultivation in particular, perhaps because of differ-
ences in location, method of cultivation, and variety. It
has also been reported that GHG emissions from tomato
cultivation in greenhouses are dependent even on the type
and construction of the greenhouse (or any similar struc-
ture) (Anto
´n et al., 2005). The LCI of tomato imported –
which included storage and transport as appropriate – by
Sweden from Israel (Carlsson-Kanyama, 1998) was
reported to be far less than that produced locally (the
farm-gate emissions) in greenhouses in the UK (Foster
et al., 2006).
3. Methodology
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool for evaluating the
environmental effects of a product, process, or activity
throughout its life cycle or lifetime, which is known as
‘‘from cradle to graveanalysis. Such assessment comprises
four steps: (1) goal definition and scoping, (2) inventory
analysis, (3) impact assessment, and (4) interpretation
(ISO, 1997). The purpose of an LCA can be to compare
alternative produces, processes or services or to compare
alternative life cycles for a given product or service in order
to identify the stages in the life cycle at which maximum
improvement can be made.
Goal definition and scoping is perhaps the most impor-
tant stage of an LCA because the study is carried out
according to the statements made at this phase, which
defines the purpose of the study, the expected product of
the study, system boundaries, functional unit (FU), and
assumptions. The inventory analysis involves collecting
data on raw materials and energy consumption, emissions
to air, water and soil, and generation of solid waste. The
impact assessment aims at understanding and evaluating
the environmental impacts based on the inventory analysis
within the framework of the goal and scope of the study. In
this phase, the inventory results are assigned to different
impact categories based on the expected types of impact
on the environment. Finally, in the interpretation phase,
the results of the inventory and impact assessment are dis-
cussed and significant environmental issues identified so
that the conclusions and recommendations are consistent
with the goal and scope of the study. However, this study
covers only the first two steps of an LCA, namely (1) goal
definition and scoping and (2) inventory analysis.
3.1. Goal definition and scoping
The purpose of the study was to investigate the life cycle
of fresh tomato and to identify the environmental impacts
of cultivation and distribution of fresh tomato produced
and consumed in Japan to determine if the environmental
loads from fresh food supply systems in Japan can be
abated.
3.2. Functional unit
The purpose of the FU is to provide a reference unit for
which the inventory data are normalized. The FU of this
study is defined as the mass of the product, i.e. 1000 kg
of tomato consumed.
3.3. System boundaries and assumptions
In general, tomatoes are produced all over Japan under
ambient and controlled (greenhouses) conditions depend-
ing upon the season and the location (prefectures) and
shipped through different distribution channels (Fig. 1).
The systems investigated in this study are shown in Table
1. Although tomatoes are produced all over Japan and
shipped by road and by sea to different consumption areas,
only a few selected prefectures were considered as the pro-
ducing areas and Tokyo was considered as the consump-
tion area to simplify the system boundary. Fig. 2 shows
the map of Japan and locations of areas selected for study.
Some of the developed and developing countries where
tomatoes can be cultivated under plastic cover during
spring and winter seasons in Japan but that can or cannot
export tomatoes by sea transport were also considered in
this study.
226 P. Roy et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 86 (2008) 225–233
The rate of respiration is one of the most important indi-
cators of the quality of fresh produce (vegetables) including
tomatoes. To standardize the quality of tomato, it was
assumed that tomatoes are transported at 10 °C for LT dis-
tribution or with 3% oxygen for MAP distribution: the res-
piration rate of tomato is reported to be the same at either
of the above conditions (Shiina, 2003). The distribution
methods evaluated were LT and MAP.
Usually, cardboard boxes (430 290 75 mm; 4 kg
tomato/box) are used for LT and paper boxes with ori-
ented polypropylene (OPP) (0.04 mm thick; 0.906 g/cm
3
)
can be used for MAP distribution. Cold storage was con-
sidered for LT and storage under ambient conditions
(but inside a shed) for MAP distribution.
Light trucks (small trucks with a capacity of 1–1.5 t and
a speed of 60 km/h) are the most common transport from
the farmhouse to JA (Japan Agricultural Co-operatives),
retail shops, or wholesale markets. On the other hand,
heavy trucks (10 t; 90 km/h) are used for long-distance
transport (from packing houses to central wholesale mar-
kets). Loading capacity was assumed to be 60% and
100% for light and heavy trucks respectively, and return
journeys were not taken into account.
About 10% of the fresh produce (vegetables) is reported
to perish in transit (Shina, 2001). However, the loss was
assumed to be 5% in the case of tomato, and the inventory
results were accordingly multiplied by 1.05 to link the envi-
ronmental loads caused by the loss to their actual location.
3.4. Inventory analysis and data collection
The life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis quantifies the
resources use, energy use, and environmental releases asso-
ciated with the system being evaluated. A summary of the
processes included in this study for analysis and sources of
data are shown in Table 2. It has been reported that agri-
cultural LCAs often exclude production processes of pesti-
cides, machines, buildings, and roads because of lack of
data (Cederberg and Mattsson, 2000). As mentioned ear-
lier, GHG emissions from tomato cultivation in green-
houses are dependent even on the type and construction
of the greenhouse (or any similar structure) and, therefore,
improvement in the composition of materials used in such
structures and in auxiliary materials was advised (Anto
´n
et al., 2005). In this study, environmental impact of agricul-
tural chemicals was considered, but that related to the con-
struction of packaging and storage facilities, transport, and
other machinery used was not, because of lack of data;
emissions from tomato waste were not considered either.
4. Results and discussion
Although the inventory consists of an exhaustive list of
parameters, the only parameter discussed in this study is
GHG (CO
2
) emissions in the life cycle of distribution sys-
tems for fresh tomato in Japan.
4.1. Emissions from cultivation processes
Japan is part of East Asia and lies in the north-west
Pacific Ocean, a narrow but discontinuous landmass in
the form of a 3200 km long strip running north-east
(46°N, 149°E) to west (24°N, 124°E). The land supports
a range of diverse ecosystems that vary with the region.
The climate varies from tropical in the south to cool tem-
perate in the north. It has been reported that the tomato
plant requires artificial heating if ambient temperature
drops below 5–8 °C or artificial cooling if it rises beyond
25–35 °C(Takahashi, 1977). Therefore, tomatoes are pro-
duced under both ambient conditions (under a plastic
cover in summer and autumn) and controlled conditions
Cooperative (JA)
Exporters
Auction houses
Foreign
Producers
Domestic Producers
Dealers
Wholesale Market
Wholesalers
Consumers
Restaurants
Retail
Markets
Importers
Dealers
Fig. 1. Flow diagram of fresh tomato distribution channels in Japan.
Table 1
Fresh tomato distribution subsystems and scenarios included in this study
Subsystem Processes included Scenarios
Agriculture Cultivation of tomatoes Ambient (plastic-cover)
and controlled
(greenhouses) cultivation
Packaging Cardboard boxes (LT),
and Cardboard boxes
with oriented
polypropylene (MAP)
Waste management
Transportation:
Road
transport
Small-trucks (1–1.5 t;
speed: 60 km/h) and
heavy duty trucks (10 t;
90 km/h)
Low temperature (LT;
refrigerated) and gas
controlled (MAP)
distribution
Sea transport Cargo ships (37 km/h) LT and MAP distribution
Storage Storage of tomato at the
warehouse (intermediate–
wholesaler), retail-shops
and household
Storage time 21 days,
including half day for
pre-cooling (Hardenburg
et al., 1986; William et al.,
1993)
P. Roy et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 86 (2008) 225–233 227
Fig. 2. Map of Japan and the selected locations (producing and consuming).
Table 2
Systems included and the sources of data used for the inventory analysis
Systems Actual data Sources
Cultivation (CO
2
emission, kg/t):
Plastic cover 192 NIAES (National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences) (2003)
Greenhouse 771 NIAES (National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences) (2003)
Transportation:
Small-truck, fuel consumption driving (L/km) 0.1667 PWMI (Plastic Waste Management Institute) (1993)
Truck, fuel consumption driving (L/km) 0.2857 PWMI (Plastic Waste Management Institute) (1993)
Truck, fuel consumption refrigeration (L/km) 0.0250 Swahn, 2007
Sea, driving (CO
2
emission (kg/t km) 0.0210 Ship and Ocean Foundation(2001)
Sea, fuel consumption refrigeration (L/t km) 0.0047 Tamura (2007)
Pre-cooling and storage (kWh/m
3
/year) 40 Duiven and Binard (2002)
Waste management (CO
2
emission, t/t):
Paper and board 0.5985 JPI (Japan Packaging Institute) (2001)
Plastics 4.5143 JPI (Japan Packaging Institute) (2001)
228 P. Roy et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 86 (2008) 225–233
(in a greenhouse round the year) to ensure year-round sup-
ply. Emissions of CO
2
(including those during harvesting
and sorting) are estimated at 810 kg/t for cultivation in a
greenhouse and 202 kg/t for cultivation under a plastic
cover (NIAES, 2003; corrected for a 5% loss during trans-
port and storage). Cultivation methods are reported to
affect the extent of GHG emissions (Stanhill, 1980; Anto
´n
et al., 2005; Williams et al., 2006), which is in agreement
with the finding of this study. The environmental load from
greenhouse production is much larger because of large
amounts of fuel consumed in keeping the greenhouse warm
in winter and spring and reported to vary from northern to
southern parts of Japan because of the difference in ambi-
ent temperature.
4.2. Emissions from distribution processes
Emissions during distribution are directly related to the
amount of energy and materials required and the type of
materials used in the process. Low-temperature distribu-
tion needs only cardboard boxes for packing whereas the
MAP method requires cardboard boxes covered with
OPP films to ensure 3% oxygen in the package, which
maintains the quality of tomato. Usually, tomatoes are
transported at ambient temperature in small trucks from
the farmhouse to the packing house, a distance assumed
to be 10 km in this study. Therefore, at this stage, there
was no difference in environmental load between LT and
MAP distribution. Table 3 shows CO
2
emissions in distrib-
uting (packaging, transport, and storage) fresh tomato.
The table shows that the emissions are affected by the pack-
aging method (Andersson et al., 1998). The environmental
load from packaging was found to be greater for MAP
than for LT. It seems that the use of OPP films in MAP
is responsible for the higher emissions. During transport,
emissions from LT are greater because of the difference
in energy consumption for cooling: approximately
Table 3
CO
2
emission from packaging, transportation and storage
CO
2
emission from different activity Distribution system
Low temperature MAP
Packaging (kg/t) 58.8398 74.1879
Transportation:
Farm to packing house (kg/t) 5.5595 5.5595
Packing house to wholesale market:
Road (kg/t km) 0.0896 0.0824
Sea (kg/t km) 0.0357 0.0221
Pre-cooling and storage (kg/t) 1.8650
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
Distance (packing house to consumption area), km
G-LT
G-MA P
P-LT
P-MA P
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
Distance (packing house to consumption area), km
CO2 emission, kg/tCO2 emission, kg/t
G-LT
G-MA P
P-LT
P-MA P
Road transport
Sea transport
Fig. 3. Effect of distance between cultivation and consumption area on the
life cycle CO
2
emissions (G = greenhouse cultivation, P = plastic-cover
cultivation, LT = low temperature, MAP = modified atmosphere
packaging).
Table 4
Production areas (packing house), the transport routes and approximate
distance to consumption area (Tokyo)
Production area Approximate distance to Tokyo (km)
Road transport
(trucks, 10 t)
Sea transport
(cargo ships)
Domestic product:
Aomori 690 1059
Fukuoka 1130 1128
Hokkaido (Hakodate) 845 1000
Kagoshima 1400 1111
Okinawa – 1567
Imported product:
Bangladesh (Chittagang) 8188
India (Calcutta) 8434
Indonesia (Belawan) 7604
Malaysia (Penang) 6077
Philippines (Manila) 3278
Thailand (Bangkok) 5539
Madagascar
a
(Antsiranana) – 11,953
New Zealand
a
(Auckland) – 8906
Somalia
a
(Mogadiscio) – 12,066
USA
a
(San Francisco) 8443
a
Importable countries; speed for road and marine transport were
assumed to be: 90 and 37 km/h (20 knots), respectively.
P. Roy et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 86 (2008) 225–233 229
1.86 kg/tonne in LT due to the electrical energy consumed
compared to none from MAP.
Fig. 3 shows the effect of distance (packing house to con-
sumption area), the emissions being directly proportional
to it. It is noteworthy that MAP distribution would not
be environmentally acceptable over distances shorter than
2000 km in the case of road transport although it does
not require cooling during transport and storage. On the
other hand, MAP will be more suitable than LT in the case
of sea transport over distances beyond 1000 km. The pack-
aging system makes a large contribution to the LCI. Emis-
sions from the packaging material were found to be greater
in MAP. The results suggest that OPP film has a significant
effect on the LCI. This figure also shows that sea transport
(37 km/h) emits less CO
2
than road transport does in both
LT and MAP distribution, the difference being attributable
to fuel consumption. Therefore, MAP was found to be the
more suitable method for transport by sea over short
distances.
Life cycle inventory of greenhouse produce is generally
higher than that of the produce of cultivation under a plas-
tic cover because of greater emissions from greenhouse cul-
tivation, an observation that suggests a switch in
production process to mitigate CO
2
emissions in Japan.
However, cultivation under a plastic cover is not possible
in the cool temperate region (northern Japan) in winter
and spring. Therefore, environmental loads from tomato
produced in different prefectures (cultivated in the green-
0
200
400
600
800
1000
Aomori Fukuoka Hokkaido Kagoshima Okinawa
Producing area
CO2 emission, kg/t
G-LT
G-MAP
P-LT
P-MAP
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
Aomori Fukuoka Hokkaido Kagoshima Okinawa
Producin
g
area
CO2 emission, kg/t
G-LT
G-MAP
P-LT
P-MAP
Fig. 4. Comparison of life cycle CO
2
emissions from fresh tomato produced in different areas in Japan (domestic produce).
230 P. Roy et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 86 (2008) 225–233
house and under a plastic cover) and in some tropical coun-
tries (cultivated under a plastic cover) were calculated to
compare domestic produce with imported produce. The
distances for road and sea transport were ascertained using
GPS software (Navin’s You 5.0) and a website (http://
www.distances.com) respectively. Table 4 shows the pro-
duction areas and details of routes and distances to Tokyo.
Figs. 4 and 5 show LCI of imported tomato and of that
produced in a few selected areas within the country and
transported to Tokyo by road or by sea. The environmen-
tal loads from road and sea transport were compared for
the domestic produce except that from Okinawa (Fig. 4).
Imported produce and produce from Okinawa were ana-
lyzed only for sea transport, which is known to be the com-
mon mode actually used (Fig. 4bandFig. 5). These figures
also support the earlier contention that the LCI is greater
for road transport for both LT and MAP (Fig. 4). It is also
noteworthy that a combination of transport by sea and
MAP as the method of distribution would reduce environ-
mental load from both domestic and imported produce
except in the case of produce of Hokkaido, which is less
than 1000 km from Tokyo. Life cycle emissions for the
imported produce also revealed MAP to be the preferred
alternative for reducing environmental load (Fig. 5). The
longer the distance between the production centre and
the consumption area, the higher the environmental load.
Fig. 5 also shows that a combination of plastic cover as
the method of cultivation, MAP as the method of distribu-
tion, and sea as the mode of transport would be the most
suitable option for both domestic produce (as long as the
distance is beyond 1000 km) and imported produce from
the environmental point of view. However, tomato cannot
be cultivated without a greenhouse in winter and spring
anywhere in Japan except Okinawa. It seems that for sup-
plies in winter and spring, Okinawa would be the best area
to produce tomato within Japan. Importing tomato (from
a few selected countries using MAP distribution) would be
the better alternative to growing it in Japan in the green-
house to abate CO
2
emissions from Japan, a conclusion
similar to that reached by other researchers (Carlsson-
Kanyama, 1998; Foster et al., 2006). However, the quaran-
tine laws of Japan prohibit imports of fruit and vegetables
from a few countries, a restriction that needs to kept in
mind in considering import as an option.
Life cycle inventory analysis of the system for distribut-
ing fresh tomato reveals that all the systems have a negative
effect on the environment and that the environmental load
is dependent on the method of production (Stanhill, 1980;
Anto
´n et al., 2005; Williams et al., 2006) and distribution.
The load is the least for tomato grown under a plastic cover,
an option ruled out in winter and spring in northern Japan –
this study recommends appropriate changes in the area of
production and in methods of distribution to reduce con-
sumption of energy and resources and emissions of GHGs.
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
LT
MAP
CO2 emission, kg/t
Production* Transportation
USA
Somalia
New Zealand
Madagascar
Thailand
Philippines
Malaysia
Indonesia
India
Bangladesh
Fig. 5. Comparison of life cycle CO
2
emissions from fresh tomato produced in different areas (imported produce) (*includes cultivation, packaging and
storage).
P. Roy et al. / Journal of Food Engineering 86 (2008) 225–233 231
4.3. Probable emission abatement
Emissions of GHGs have been increasing markedly due
to the enormous levels of energy consumption, leading to
global warming and ultimately to climate change, perhaps
the most serious problem that humankind faces today.
Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Cli-
mate Change (Kyoto Protocol), countries agreed to stabi-
lize CO
2
emissions to the 1990 levels, which means
reducing them from the current level. Reducing the emis-
sions of GHGs is a challenging task because economic
growth tends to increase energy demand, which, in turn,
increases emissions of CO
2
. This study analyzed the pro-
cesses involved in growing and distributing fresh tomato
in Japan to determine probable abatements in CO
2
emis-
sions resulting from changes in those processes. Winter
and spring shipments are reported to be 369,000 t (MAFF,
2001), and presumably originate from greenhouses. The
resulting emissions of GHGs were assumed to be the aver-
age of emissions from selected producing areas. Based on
these assumptions, probable emission abatement was
worked out (Fig. 6). The result showed that switching from
greenhouse cultivation to that under a plastic cover would
lead to yearly emission abatement of approximately 0.14–
0.24 million tonnes in Japan. Such a switch in the process
of cultivating and distributing tomato conserves energy
and reduces environmental load from the life cycle of
tomato. Thus, a change in cultivation and distribution pro-
cesses contributes to reducing environmental pollution and
global warming potential. However, the production cycle
and the duration of production should be considered also
from the viewpoint of sustainable agriculture and farm
economy.
5. Conclusions
The LCI result indicates that local production (under a
plastic cover) in summer and autumn and imports (from
crop raised under a plastic cover) in winter and spring
would be the best option to mitigate CO
2
emissions. Thus,
this study may be helpful in motivating consumers and
helping them in choosing environmentally friendly pro-
duce. A change in the mode of transport from road to
sea is also required to reduce CO
2
emissions. A combina-
tion of these changes would lower consumption of
resources and emissions of CO
2
in the life cycle of tomato
in Japan and contribute to reducing its global warming
potential.
Acknowledgement
The authors would like to express their gratitude to the
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for the
grants-in-aid for scientific research (No. 18.06581).
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Thesis
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Article
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Preprint
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The life cycle assessment of various processes and materials used during production phase of guava revealed that the production and application of agricultural inputs were the major contributors to global warming, fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, acidification and eutrophication as well as caused highest damage to the ecosystem. The application of zinc monosulphate as micronutrient had major impact on abiotic depletion, ozone layer depletion, human toxicity and photochemical oxidation as well as caused highest damage to human health and resources depletion. The life cycle assessment during distribution phase revealed that production and consumption of polyvinyl chloride crates for packaging of guava was a major contributor to abiotic depletion, global warming, human toxicity and eutrophication, whereas consumption of electricity for storage and marketing was major contributor to marine aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, photochemical oxidation and acidification. The life cycle assessment of various processes and materials on environmental impact indicators in relation to marketing supply chains revealed that abiotic depletion, global warming, ozone layer depletion, human toxicity, fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity, marine aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, photochemical oxidation, acidification and eutrophication were highest in marketing supply chains involving the maximum number of chain partners/ intermediaries. In order to minimize the impacts of production and distribution of guava on environment, human health, ecosystem and resources, it is necessary to remodel the production process of agricultural inputs, minimize the use of zinc monosulphate, pesticides, polyvinyl chloride crates and electricity and reduce the number of intermediaries in the supply chain.
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Full-text available
Life cycle impact assessment (LCA) provides a better understanding of the energy, water, and material input and evaluates any production system’s output impacts. LCA has been carried out on various crops and products across the world. Some countries, however, have none or only a few studies. Here, we present the results of a literature review, following the PRISMA protocol, of what has been done in LCA to help stakeholders in these regions to understand the environmental impact at different stages of a product. The published literature was examined using the Google Scholar database to synthesize LCA research on agricultural activities, and 74 studies were analyzed. The evaluated papers are extensively studied in order to comprehend the various impact categories involved in LCA. The study reveals that tomatoes and wheat were the major crops considered in LCA. The major environmental impacts, namely, human toxicity potential and terrestrial ecotoxicity potential, were the major focus. Furthermore, the most used impact methods were CML, ISO, and IPCC. It was also found that studies were most often conducted in the European sector since most models and databases are suited for European agri-food products. The literature review did not focus on a specific region or a crop. Consequently, many studies appeared while searching using the keywords. Notwithstanding such limitations, this review provides a valuable reference point for those practicing LCA.
Chapter
Tea is one of the most widely used drinks in the world. This is due to the fact that tea as a beverage has significant effects on the prevention and treatment of human diseases. Accordingly, the demand for tea is increasing day by day. Obviously, traditional tea production does not meet this demand. Therefore, the chain of tea production consumes a lot of energies and materials to achieve a higher yield of tea in cultivation and processing steps compared with traditional tea cultivation and processing. However, more consumption materials and energies lead to unfavorable impacts on Earth’s biogeochemical and hydrological cycles. Consequently, tea production systems should be assessed in order to identify environmental opportunities and constraints in its life cycle from cultivation and processing into waste disposal. One of the most important tools that are so far used in the environmental assessment chain of tea production and consumption is life cycle assessment (LCA). This chapter describes the overview of the life cycle of tea from production into consumption/waste management prior to providing insights into the LCA of this supply chain.
Article
Jerome believed that the task of the commentator was to convey what others have said, not to advance his own interpretations. However, an examination of his commentaries on the Prophets shows that their contents are arranged so as to construct a powerful, but tacit, position of authority for their compiler. By juxtaposing Jewish and Greek Christian interpretations as he does, Jerome places himself in the position of arbiter over both exegetical traditions. But because he does not explicitly assert his own authority, he can maintain a stance of humility appropriate for a monk. Here, Jerome may have been a more authentic representative of the tradition of Origen than was his rival, for all that he was willing to abjure Origen's theology.
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In the late 1980s the demands for a more ecological life style and sustainability set off intense research for methods to analyse and assess the environmental impact of products and systems. The methodology crystallizing from this research is called life cycle assessment (LCA). This paper presents the concept, methodology, applications and present status of LCA. LCA as applied to food production systems is discussed in terms of needs, special demands on methodology, the studies that have been performed and ongoing activities.
Article
Estimates are presented of the energy sequestered in the production of tomatoes by 6 different cropping systems, 5 of them practised with varying degrees of environmental protection in Mediterranean climatic regions, and one in heated glasshouses in a more northern region. Within the 6 systems considered, the total non-solar energy inputs ranged from 72 to 29286 GJ ha−1, the yield of edible, metabolic energy from 46 to 196 GJ ha−1 and the fossil fuel energy invested per unit yield from 1·4 to 137 MJ kg−1. For these 3 quantities the minimum value was for extensive, mechanized, unprotected field production in California and the maximum for early crop production in heated glasshouses in England. For unheated crops, amortization of the protective structures and other fixed equipment represents an increasingly significant fraction of the total energy requirement as the degree of environmental control increases, reaching over half of the total when protection is afforded by glass. There is a sharp reduction in the proportional, although not the absolute size of this indirect energy investment for crops grown in artificially heated and ventilated glasshouses. The difference in energy costs of production between protected, heated crops in northern Europe and unheated crops in the Mediterranean region approximately equals the energy cost of transporting the fruit by air. Finally and very briefly, some implications of the expected increase in fossil fuel costs to protected cropping systems in the Mediterranean region are considered.
Article
Organic agriculture addresses the public demand to diminish environmental pollution of agricultural production. Until now, however, only few studies tried to determine the integrated environmental impact of conventional versus organic production using life cycle assessment (LCA). The aim of this article was to review prospects and constraints of LCA as a tool to assess the integrated environmental impact of conventional and organic animal production. This aim was illustrated using results from LCAs in the literature and from a pilot study comparing conventional and organic milk production. This review shows that LCAs of different case studies currently cannot be compared directly. Such a comparison requires further international standardisation of the LCA method. A within-case-study comparison of LCAs of conventional and organic production, however, appeared suitable to gain knowledge and to track down main differences in potential environmental impact. Acidification potential of milk production, for example, is for 78–97% due to volatilisation of ammonia, which is not reduced necessarily by changing from conventional to organic milk production. Eutrophication potential per tonne of milk or per ha of farmland was lower for organic than for conventional milk production due to lower fertiliser application rates. Global warming potential of milk production is for 48–65% due to emission of methane. Organic milk production inherently increases methane emission and, therefore, can reduce global warming potential only by reducing emission of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide considerably. Organic milk production reduces pesticide use, whereas it increases land use per tonne of milk. Conclusions regarding potential environmental impact of organic versus conventional milk production, however, are based largely on comparison of experimental farms. To show differences in potential environmental impact among various production systems, however, LCAs should be performed at a large number of practical farms for each production system of interest. Application of LCA on practical farms, however, requires in-depth research to understand underlying processes, and to predict, or measure, variation in emissions realised in practice.
Article
An LCA was performed on organic and conventional milk production at the farm level in Sweden. In the study, special focus was aimed at substance flows in concentrate feed production and nutrient flows on the farms. The different feeding strategies in the two forms of production, influence several impact categories. The import of feed by conventional dairy farms often leads to a substantial input of phosphorus and nitrogen. Organic milk production is a way to reduce pesticide use and mineral surplus in agriculture but this production form also requires substantially more farmland than conventional production. For Swedish conditions, however, a large use of grassland for grazing ruminants is regarded positively since this type of arable land use promotes the domestic environmental goals of biodiversity and aesthetic values.
Article
A screening life cycle assessment (LCA) of tomato ketchup has been carried out. The purpose was to identify `hot-spots', that is parts of the life-cycle that are important to the total environmental impact. The system investigated includes agricultural production, industrial refining, packaging, transportation, consumption and waste management. Energy use and emissions were quantified and some of the potential environmental effects assessed. Packaging and food processing were found to be hot-spots for many, but not all, of the impact categories investigated. For primary energy use, the storage time in a refrigerator (household phase) was found to be a critical parameter.
Article
Results from an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption during the life-cycle of carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, pork, rice and dry peas consumed in Sweden are presented and discussed. The life-cycle is delineated to the part of the production chain prior to purchase by the consumer. The study shows that emissions, expressed in g CO2 equivalents, are highest for pork and rice and lowest for potatoes, carrots and dry peas. The most important stages of emissions in the life-cycle are identified for each of the different food items. Crop farming is the most important stage for rice and tomatoes while rearing of animals is the most important stage for pork and storage is the most important stage for carrots. Comparison with an energy analysis shows that important stages in the life-cycle of food may be under-evaluated when energy only is accounted for. This may lead to a sub-optimisation of pollution control exemplified by the case of transportation. Also, it is shown that the choice of functional unit has a decisive influence on the outcome of the study. The recommendation is to compare whole meals, or diets with the same nutritional qualities. A comparison of four meals composed of the food items under analysis shows that a meal with tomatoes, rice and pork has nine times higher emissions than a meal made from potatoes, carrots and dry peas. Emissions of greenhouse gases from consumption patterns based on the food items analysed are compared with an assumed sustainable limit of greenhouse gas emissions. The conclusion is that current food consumption patterns in the developed countries exceed the level of sustainability by at least a factor of 4. Prospects for achieving sustainable food consumption patterns are questionable in view of current trends in food demand.
Article
LCA is used to analyse and evaluate the environmental impact associated with the process of greenhouse cultivation of a tomato crop. Tomato production in kg is selected as a functional unit. Three different tomato production processes were compared: soil cultivation and open and closed hydroponic systems. Three different waste management scenarios were also analysed. The most significant negative environmental impacts were identified, enabling the application of the most suitable technology in order to mitigate their effects. The main negative impact of greenhouse tomato production derives from the waste of biomass and plastics, therefore suitable waste management is the best practicable environmental option to reduce this. The composting of biodegradable matter is the best way of managing this kind of waste. Improving the material composition of structures and auxiliary materials is also advised. Lastly, more rational management criteria for the supply of nutrients to the crop will have to be found.