Article

Producing oat drink or cow's milk on a Swedish farm — Environmental impacts considering the service of grazing, the opportunity cost of land and the demand for beef and protein

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Abstract

There are plant-based alternatives to cow's milk that resemble milk in appearance and function, but differ nutritionally. These are associated with lower land use and environmental impact than milk. However, there are places where dairy herds contribute positively to conservation of high nature value pastures through their grazing. The dairy system also produces meat, but it can be questioned how much beef is needed/demanded. This study evaluated the environmental impact of production of oat drink in comparison with production of milk in terms of: i) the necessity for sufficient grazing animals in the landscape for biodiversity conservation; ii) different perspectives on the need for beef and protein; iii) the opportunity cost of land, and iv) the differing protein content of milk and oat drink. The climate impact, eutrophication and acidification potential and ecotoxicity impacts of a typical Swedish dairy farm were calculated and compared with those of the same farm when milk production was replaced by production of oat drink and three different alternatives to dairy beef: 1) beef from suckler herds; 2) chicken; and 3) plant-based protein. In all scenarios, the same area of semi-natural grassland was grazed. The opportunity cost of land use was included by producing bioenergy on spare land. The direct greenhouse gas emissions were considerably lower (16-41%) for all oat drink scenarios than for the milk scenario. When the bioenergy produced on the spare land was assumed to replace diesel, this substitution effect together with the carbon sequestration in soils cancelled out the direct emissions almost entirely when chicken or plant-based protein was produced instead of beef. The eutrophication potential was similar for all scenarios, while the acidification potential was 21-37% higher in the oat drink scenarios due to the need for handling increased amounts of digestate from bioenergy (biogas) production. This explorative study demonstrated great potential for reduced climate impact through production of oat drink instead of cow's milk, while still preserving grazing services for biodiversity conservation. However, for this to happen, incentives to manage semi-natural grassland need to be introduced, as such management is not an inherent effect of oat drink production. In addition, for the environmental benefits demonstrated in this study to come about, consumers must be incentivised to consume oat drink instead of milk and, to achieve the largest climate impact reductions, to replace some beef with chicken or cereals and legumes.

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... Generally, however, estimated emissions expressed as kg CO 2 -eq per capita and year are four to eight times higher for cow's milk compared with oat and soya milk (Mäkinen et al., 2016a,b). In addition, Röös et al. (2016) concluded that direct GHG emissions from animals, fertiliser and energy use were considerably lower (16%-41%) for all oat drink scenarios they analysed compared with a dairy scenario, due to lower methane emissions from ruminant enteric fermentation. Overall, the above results were summarised and 0.30 kg CO 2 -eq per litre of plant-based milk was used as an approximate value (Dahllöv and Gustafsson, 2008;Mikkola and Risku-Norja, 2008, Smedman et al., 2010, Röös et al., 2016. ...
... In addition, Röös et al. (2016) concluded that direct GHG emissions from animals, fertiliser and energy use were considerably lower (16%-41%) for all oat drink scenarios they analysed compared with a dairy scenario, due to lower methane emissions from ruminant enteric fermentation. Overall, the above results were summarised and 0.30 kg CO 2 -eq per litre of plant-based milk was used as an approximate value (Dahllöv and Gustafsson, 2008;Mikkola and Risku-Norja, 2008, Smedman et al., 2010, Röös et al., 2016. A previous study by Flysjö et al. (2011) analysing the impact of various parameters on the carbon footprint of milk production in New Zealand and Sweden found a value of 1 kg CO 2 -eq per litre for milk from outdoor pasture grazing systems in New Zealand and 1.16 kg CO 2 -eq per litre for milk from indoor housing systems with high use of concentrate feed in Sweden. ...
... A value of 1.5 kg CO 2 -eq per kg and year has been estimated for Irish dairy milk (Casey and Holden, 2005), while the value is reported to vary between 0.94 and 1.33 kg CO 2 -eq per kg energy-corrected milk on Swedish dairy farms due to management differences . There is also a difference in CO 2 -eq between organic dairy milk and conventional dairy milk, varying from 0.856 to 1.48 per kgin New Zealand, the Netherlands and Dahllöv and Gustafsson (2008), Mikkola and Risku-Norja (2008), Smedman et al., 2010, Röös et al. (2016 and Ho et al., 2016 0.354 18.270 1.94% ...
Article
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A hypothetical carbon tax on the carbon footprint of fresh milk products from animals (cow’s milk) and plant-based substitutes (rice milk, oat milk, soy milk, almond milk) was applied to estimated price and income elasticities for Swedish household expenditure on these products. Overall aims were to (i) to estimate fresh milk consumption patterns in Swedish households and (ii) simulate the direct distributed effects of a carbon tax on fresh milk. The results indicated that fresh milk consumption in Swedish households is affected mainly by price and income, rather than by sociodemographic characteristics of the household. The estimates revealed a substitutional relationship between plant- based milk on one hand and low-fat and standard milk on the other, while there was a complementary relationship between plant-based and reduced-fat milk. The effects of a carbon tax were simulated based on damage cost and price. The results indicated that introduction of a carbon tax would decrease the carbon footprint of dairy fresh milk, but would increase the carbon footprint of plant-based milk because of the institutional and complementary relationship between the different categories of fresh milk. Thus levying a carbon tax on fresh dairy milk, rather than on plant-based milk, would be more likely to promote climate-friendly fresh milk consumption.
... The REY is calculated by the mustard crop yield multiplied by its market price and then divided by the market price of rice, in effect representing an economic revenue FU. Grönroos et al. (2006), Tuomisto et al. (2012) and Röös et al. (2016) were the only studies captured by this review that propose a multi-variable FU, where multi-functionality is addressed by integrating a specific portfolio of required outputs into a single FU. They proposed a composition of different products; thus, the function of the systems under analysis is achieving an exactly defined proportion of different products, such as, for Röös et al. (2016), a drink with the function of milk + protein for humans + rapeseed oil and protein feed corresponded to an amount of grain legumes + grazing of 49 ha of semi-natural grasslands. ...
... Grönroos et al. (2006), Tuomisto et al. (2012) and Röös et al. (2016) were the only studies captured by this review that propose a multi-variable FU, where multi-functionality is addressed by integrating a specific portfolio of required outputs into a single FU. They proposed a composition of different products; thus, the function of the systems under analysis is achieving an exactly defined proportion of different products, such as, for Röös et al. (2016), a drink with the function of milk + protein for humans + rapeseed oil and protein feed corresponded to an amount of grain legumes + grazing of 49 ha of semi-natural grasslands. Similarly, Tuomisto et al. (2012) proposed 460 t of potatoes + 88 t of winter wheat + 60 t of field beans + 66 t of spring wheat as functional unit . ...
... However, awareness of the complexity of representing crops within crop rotations in LCA is increasing. Numerous authors have already applied multiple FU in order to understand systems from the perspective of an entire rotation (Nemecek et al. 2011;MacWilliam et al. 2014;Yang et al. 2014;Prechsl et al. 2017), especially in type III studies (Röös et al. 2016). Recent studies have proposed FUs that address the delivery of different functions (type III). ...
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Purpose There is an imperative to accurately assess the environmental sustainability of crop system interventions in the context of food security and climate change. Previous studies have indicated that the incorporation of legumes into cereal rotations could reduce overall environmental burdens from cropping systems. However, most life cycle assessment (LCA) studies focus on individual crops and miss environmental consequences of inter-annual crop sequence and nutrient cycling effects. This review investigates state-of-the-art representation of inter-crop rotation effects within legume LCA studies. Methods A literature review was undertaken, starting with a search for all peer-reviewed articles with combinations of ‘LCA’, ‘legumes’ and ‘rotations’ or synonyms thereof. In total, 3180 articles were obtained. Articles were screened for compliance with all of the following requirements: (i) reporting results based on LCA or life cycle inventory methodology; (ii) inclusion of (a) legume(s); (iii) the legume(s) is/are analysed within the context of a wider cropping system (i.e. rotation or intercropping). Seventy articles satisfying these requirements were analysed. Results and discussion We identified three broad approaches to legume LCA. Most studies involved simple attributional LCA disregarding important interactions across years and crops in rotations. N-fertilizer reduction through legume residue N carryover is either disregarded or the benefit is attributed to the following crop in such studies, whilst N leaching burdens from residues are usually attributed to the legume crop. Some studies applied robust allocation approaches and/or complex functional units to enable analysis of entire rotation sequences, accounting for nutrient cycling and break crop effects. Finally, a few studies applied consequential LCA to identify downstream substitution effects, though these studies did not simultaneously account for agronomic effects of rotational sequence changes. Conclusions We recommend that LCA studies for legume cropping systems should (i) evaluate entire rotations; (ii) represent nitrogen and ideally carbon cycling; (iii) for attributional studies, define at least two functional units, where one should encompass the multifunctional outputs of an entire rotation and the other should enable product footprints to be calculated; (iv) for CLCA studies, account for both agronomic changes in rotations and markets effects; (v) include impact categories that reflect hotspots for agricultural production.
... 7. Environmental effects of the production of plant-based milk substitutes and cow's milk Food production has a variety of influences on the environment including accelerating climate change, increasing water usage, creating eco-toxicity, increasing land usage, eutrophication, and loss of biodiversity. Consequences of such threats from food production can be quantified through life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods, and there are numerous studies that attempt to determine how much and in what way food production damages the environment (Naranjo et al., 2020;Noya et al., 2018;Röös, Patel, & Spångberg, 2016). ...
... In addition, the authors add that feed and fodder production is the largest factor in the water footprint due to farming operations. Röös, Patel, & Spångberg (2016) compared and measured the effect on climate, eutrophication, acidification risk, and ecotoxicity impacts of a traditional Swedish dairy farm when oat milk substitute is produced instead of cow's milk. The findings indicated that oat-based milk substitute production provided more than a 10-20% decrease in the effect on climate. ...
... The ecotoxicity impact for the oat-based milk substitute was substantially lower compared to the cow's milk production due to more grass-clover cultivation. To sum up, the research of Röös et al., (2016) showed tremendous potential for reducing the effect on climate by manufacturing oat drink rather than cow's milk on a Swedish farm while at the same ensuring biodiversity conservation resources for pasturing. An opportunity to reduce the potential for ecotoxicity damages by processing oat drink instead of cow's milk was also reported. ...
Article
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The consumption of plant-based milk substitutes has spread rapidly around the world due to its numerous positive health effects on the human body. Individuals with cow’s milk allergy, lactose intolerance, and hypocholesterolemia prefer these beverages. In spite of the added sugar and lack of total protein content, phenolic compounds, unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidant activity, and bioactive compounds such as phytosterols and isoflavones make plant-based milk substitutes an excellent choice. In addition to the health effects, this review includes conventional and novel processes for 12 different plant-based milk substitutes including almond, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, peanut, sesame, soy, tiger nut, oat, rice, hemp, and walnut. The unique element of this review is our holistic approach in which 12 different plant-based milk substitutes production techniques are presented, including patents, the health effects of bioactive compounds, the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals, the market share, consumer acceptance, and the environmental impact.
... Compared to milk products, GWP was about two to three times lower in PBMAs. This difference is mainly due to the high methane emissions from ruminant enteric fermentation [42]. The values for the oat drink (Table 5) were slightly higher than those of Smedman et al. [31] but in line with those of CarbonCloud [32] and Röös et al. [42]. ...
... This difference is mainly due to the high methane emissions from ruminant enteric fermentation [42]. The values for the oat drink (Table 5) were slightly higher than those of Smedman et al. [31] but in line with those of CarbonCloud [32] and Röös et al. [42]. The results for the soy drink used in this study ranged between values of Birgersson et al. [33] and Clune et al. [9], who used different origins, system boundaries, transports, and methods. ...
Article
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Human food production is the largest cause of global environmental changes. Environmental benefits could be achieved by replacing diets with a high amount of animal-sourced foods with more plant-based foods, due to their smaller environmental impacts. The objective of this study was to assess the environmental impacts of the three most common plant-based milk alternatives (PBMAs)—oat, soy, and almond drink—in comparison with conventional and organic cow milk. Life cycle assessments (LCA) were calculated by the ReCiPe 2016 midpoint method, in addition to the single issue methods “Ecosystem damage potential” and “Water scarcity index”. PBMAs achieved lower impact values in almost all 12 of the calculated impact categories, with oat drink and the organic soy drink being the most environmentally friendly. However, when LCA results were expressed per energy and by the protein content of the beverages, the ranking of the beverages, in terms of their environmental impacts, changed greatly, and the results of PBMAs approached those of milk, particularly with regard to the protein index. The study highlights the importance of considering a broader range of impact categories when comparing the impacts of PBMAs and milk.
... Second, we can compare the emissions of different foods that serve the same or similar roles in the diet, e.g., in terms of the nutrients they supply. An example of this is the comparison of two types of milk, cow versus plant-based, which can serve the role of "milk" in diets in the Global North both in terms of their place in foods and meals and in terms of the nutrients supplied (Röös et al., 2016). Major challenges for both of these approaches are idiosyncratic differences, the need to balance the huge resource demands 138 VEGETARIAN AND PLANT-BASED DIETS IN HEALTH AND DISEASE PREVENTION of determining the impact of each specific food choice, and the resulting necessity of making decisions based on incomplete information. ...
... As PBDs increase in popularity, so have plant-based substitutes for animal foods and studies of their comparative climate impacts. For example, a study comparing oat and dairy milk on two model Swedish farms compared the environmental impact of producing oat drink with cow milk in terms of biodiversity conservation, requirements for beef and protein, the opportunity cost of land, and the different protein content of oat and cow milk (Röös et al., 2016). They found "great potential for reduced climate impact" with oat milk, even while keeping some cow milk production. ...
Chapter
Diet change toward more plant-based diets is very likely critical for avoiding catastrophic environmental damage, including climate change. This is primarily because animal foods contribute such a large proportion of food system climate impacts, which in turn contribute a large portion of the total human impact. However, our understanding of the details of the impact of different diets is also limited due to lack of data, uncertainty, and differences in methodology. We address three key questions that need to be answered for an informed discussion of the climate impact of plant-based diets: How can diets be measured to assess their climate impact? How can climate impact be measured and attributed to diet? What do we know about the relative climate impact of different plant-based diets?.
... These goals can be achieved by reducing energy usage in food production and food waste. Livestock rearing involves releasing greenhouse gases (GHG) and land use, which puts ecosystems at risk of acidification and eutrophication [5,6]. Increase in production and consumption of plant-based foods and added-value food products made from agricultural wastes have been shown to make a significant contribution towards reducing the aforementioned environmental impacts [7][8][9][10]. ...
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Plants represent a significant part of the human diet. Humans have utilized every part of plants for survival, and seeds are no exception. Seeds offer high protein, unsaturated fats, fibre, essential vitamins, and minerals for various food applications. They are also a promising reservoir of bioactive compounds, where various phytochemicals, such as polyphenolic compounds, capable of maintaining and improving well-being, are present in abundant quantities. Plants from Malvaceae and Cannabaceae families are known for their fibre-rich stems that benefit humankind by serving numerous purposes. For many centuries they have been exploited extensively for various commercial and industrial uses. Their seeds, which are often regarded as a by-product of fibre processing, have been scientifically discovered to have an essential role in combating hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, cancer, and oxidative stress. Maximizing the use of these agricultural wastes can be a promising approach to creating a more sustainable world, in accordance with the concept of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
... Em contrapartida, Röös, Patel & Spangberg (2016) contribuíram com as discussões afirmando que os con-Figura 5. Gráfico de redes com as principais associações entre os termos predominantes no portfólio analisado (Network graph with the main associations between the predominant terms in the analyzed portfolio.) sumidores deveriam ser incentivados a consumirem mais carne de frango e/ou cereais e leguminosas em detrimento a carne bovina. ...
Article
A pesquisa realizada teve como objetivo analisar a sinergia entre os serviços ecossistêmicos e a produção de carne bovina por meio de investigações científicas. Para tanto, empregou-se uma revisão sistemática da literatura a partir das publicações científicas acerca da referida temática. Os resultados obtidos demostraram o surgimento e o crescimento exponencial do tema na última década. Ademais, a produção de carne bovina foi associada a serviços ecossistêmicos por meio de quatro áreas principais, quais sejam: impactos ambientais, mudanças no uso da terra, aspectos paisagísticos e ambiente institucional. Nesta perspectiva salienta-se que a área de impactos ambientais está sendo a mais explorada no meio científico, além de apresentar influência direta sobre o ambiente institucional mediante a formação de normativas e indicadores que auxiliam no processo de avaliação dos benefícios econômicos e ecológicos. Portanto, as investigações denotam os esforços desempenhados pelos pesquisadores, de forma a modificar e implementar restrições para que os recursos ecossistêmicos sejam utilizados de maneira racional na produção bovina.
... Specifically, the carbon footprint of oat protein concentrate (OPC) is more than 50% lower when compared with dairy proteins (32). OPC-enriched food products could reduce 13% of greenhouse gas emissions and 26% of land use when substituted with animal-based proteins (33); similarly, oat drinks emitted 16-41% lesser greenhouse gas as compared to cow milk (34). The use of plant proteins has considerable potential in mitigating climate change and reducing land use. ...
Article
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Oats are considered the healthiest grain due to their high content of phytochemicals, dietary fibers, and protein. In recent years, oat protein and peptides have gained popularity as possible therapeutic or nutraceutical candidates. Generally, oat peptides with bioactive properties can be obtained by the enzymatic hydrolysis of proteins and are known to have a variety of regulatory functions. This review article focused on the nutraceutical worth of oat proteins and peptides and also describes the application of oat protein as a functional ingredient. Outcomes of this study indicated that oat protein and peptides present various therapeutical properties, including antidiabetic, antioxidant, antihypoxic, antihypertensive, antithrombotic, antifatigue, immunomodulatory, and hypocholestrolaemic. However, most of the conducted studies are limited to in vitro conditions and less data is available on assessing the effectiveness of the oat peptides in vivo. Future efforts should be directed at performing systematic animal studies; in addition, clinical trials also need to be conducted to fully support the development of functional food products, nutraceutical, and therapeutical applications.
... The release of greenhouse gases (GHG) from this industry boils down to most of it being CO 2 , CH 4 , N 2 O, and these are released from various points in the life cycle, as shown for example by ( Poore & Nemecek, 2018 ;Potter & Röös, 2021 ;Rotz et al., 2010 ). Some studies compare the environmental impact of milk production with the production of plant-based alternatives through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) (see ( Grant & Hicks, 2018 ;Ho et al., 2016 ;Röös et al., 2016 )), while others just look at the impact from one of the sides, either milk production ( Berton et al., 2021 ;Thomassen et al., 2008 ) or plant-based beverage production Winans et al. (2020) . ...
Article
Milk consumption in humans lasts longer than in other mammals species. Today consumers' awareness of the environmental burden that some products carry, like milk, keeps growing. Consequently, they are looking for alternatives that are more environmentally friendly and well as nutritionally similar. This review explores the data available in the literature and compares the nutritional profile and the environmental impact of several milk alternatives with the profile of milk from different mammals. Overall plant-based beverages available on the market shelves appear to be nutritionally richer than animal milk: their profile shows a possible fortification in some nutrients, which is a normal practice during the processing step of these products. On the environmental impact of these products, a lot of data is missing, making it impossible to make a full comparison across environmental categories. Overall, the environmental impact of plant-based milk is lower than milk, with exceptions in some categories. This study has many limitations since the available data for the different products is limited, for both nutritional profile and environmental impact. For example, while mammals’ milk is very well characterised, the biggest occurrence of missing data is found in the nutritional profile of plant-based beverages, where some products only have available information on macronutrients.
... Dairy products are widely consumed in most developed countries, and their consumption in developing countries is increasing quickly (Röös et al., 2016;Mendonça et al., 2017aMendonça et al., , 2017bSouza et al., 2021). Over the two last Science of the Total Environment 824 (2022) 153838 decades, milk production in Brazil has increased by 20%, with an annual production of 33.5 billion litres in 2019 (EMBRAPA, 2020;Souza et al., 2021), and shows an increasing trend in the coming years. ...
Article
Microalgae biofuel could be the next step in avoiding the excessive use of fossil fuels and reducing negative impacts on the environment. In the present study, two species of microalgae (Scenedesmus obliquus and Chlorella vulgaris) were used for biomass production, grown in dairy wastewater treated by activated sludge systems. The photobioreactors were operated in batch and in continuous mode. The dry biomass produced was in the range of 2.30 to 3.10 g L⁻¹. The highest volumetric yields for lipids and carbohydrates were 0.068 and 0.114 g L⁻¹ day⁻¹. Maximum CO2 biofixation (750 mg L⁻¹ day⁻¹) was obtained in continuous mode. The maximum values for lipids (21%) and carbohydrates (39%) were recorded in the batch process with species Scenedesmus obliquus. In all of the experiments, the Linolenic acid concentration (C18:3) was greater than 12%, achieving satisfactory oxidative stability and good quality. Projected biofuel production could vary between 4,863,708 kg and 9,246,456 kg year⁻¹ if all the dairy wastewater produced in Brazil were used for this purpose. Two hectares would be needed to produce 24,99 × 10⁹ L year⁻¹ of microalgae bioethanol, a far lower value than used in cultivating sugar cane. If all dairy wastewater generated annually in Brazil were used to produce microalgae biomass, it would be possible to obtain approximately 30,609 to 53,647 barrels of biodiesel per year. These data show that only by using dairy wastewater would biofuels be produced to replace 17% to 40% of the fossil fuels currently used in Brazil.
... Alternative ways of assessing the environmental impact of the food sector have also begun to develop. Röös et al. [63] compared, for example, a farm where the business had the same goal: to produce a beverage with the same function as milk with a certain amount of protein, oil, and animal feed and to keep a certain area of pasture open. When the beverage was delivered as an oat beverage, the greenhouse gas emissions were much lower than when the beverage was delivered as cow's milk. ...
Article
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A large body of research suggests a more plant-based diet, including a switch to plant-based alternatives to dairy, is needed for lowering human-induced climate change as well as land and water use. With the help of a systematic literature review, we analyzed data from 21 peer-reviewed articles about the differences in emissions and resources used between various plant-based alternatives to dairy and dairy products. Emissions included were greenhouse gases, acidifying, eutrophicating, and ozone-depleting substances, and resource use included water, energy, and land. The results are presented as the quotients of the ratios of plant-based alternatives to dairy and dairy products. The comparison shows that the plant-based dairy alternatives have lower, or much lower, impacts in almost all cases, with two exceptions: water use for almond drinks (several studies) and emissions of ozone-depleting substances for margarine (one study). There is a lack of data concerning impacts other than greenhouse gas emissions for plant-based cheese alternatives; and in general, emissions of greenhouse gases are more highly covered than other impacts. In the quest for a swift transition to a low carbon economy, however, there is already enough evidence to proceed with a dietary change involving switching dairy products to plant-based alternatives.
... Because oats are more sustainable than animal milk products, as it costs less amount of water, land and other resources. Furthermore, oat milk is responsible for less greenhouse gas emissions than soymilk or dairy milk (Röös, Patel & Spångberg, 2016). Oatly is considered a representative company willing to participate in sustainable consumption. ...
Article
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The food industry's sustainable development is considered a significant issue affecting the environment. This study was undertaken to review the previous studies/researches, and summarize the topics regarding legitimacy, gap between ethical purchase intentions and actual buying behaviour, and green marketing. By investigating the current situation of Oatly, we answered the research questions on the sustainable marketing strategies and challenges faced by sustainable marketing practices in the food industry.
... Because oats are more sustainable than animal milk products, as it costs less amount of water, land and other resources. Furthermore, oat milk is responsible for less greenhouse gas emissions than soymilk or dairy milk (Röös, Patel & Spångberg, 2016). Oatly is considered a representative company willing to participate in sustainable consumption. ...
... Milk and other dairy products are consumed in large amounts in most developed countries and consumption is rapidly increasing in other low and middle income countries (Röös et al. 2016). Between 2013 and 2014, the production of cows' milk in the EU-28 increased by almost 4%. ...
Article
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Milk production has been estimated to contribute 3–4% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, the carbon footprint associated with raw milk can vary, depending on a variety of factors, such as the geographical area, species of cow and production system. In this study, a global overview of research published on the carbon footprint (CF) of raw cow milk is provided. Additionally, two different dairy systems (semi-confinement and pasture-based) have been analysed by life-cycle assessment (LCA) in order to determine their effect on the CF of the milk produced. Inventory data were obtained directly from these facilities, and the main factors involved in milk production were included (co-products, livestock food, water, electricity, diesel, cleaning elements, transport, manure and slurry management, gas emissions to air etc.). In agreement with reviewed literature, it was found that the carbon footprint of milk was basically determined by the cattle feeding system and gas emissions from the cows. The values of milk CF found in the systems under study were within the range for cow milk production worldwide (0.9–4.7 kgCO2eq kgFPCM⁻¹). Specifically, in the semi-confinement and the pasture-based dairy farms, 1.22 and 0.99 kgCO2eq kgFPCM⁻¹ were obtained, respectively. The environmental benefits obtained with the pasture grazing system are not only mainly due to the lower use of purchased fodder but also to the allocation between milk and meat that was found to be a determining methodological factor in CF calculation. Finally, data from the evaluated dairy systems have been employed to analyse the influence of raw milk production on cheese manufacturing. With this aim, the CF of a small-scale cheese factory has also been obtained. The main subsystems involved (raw materials, water, electricity, energy, cleaning products, packaging materials, transport, wastes and gas emissions) were included in the inventory of the cheese factory. CF values were 16.6 and 14.7 kgCO2eq kg⁻¹ of cheese for milk produced in semi-confinement and pasture-based systems, respectively. The production of raw milk represented more than 60% of CO2eq emissions associated with cheese, so the primary production is the critical factor in reducing the GHG emissions due to cheese making.
... Trade-offs frequently arise between land and water use (Bhardwaj et al. 2011;Motoshita et al. 2016b;Pfister et al. 2011;Ridoutt et al. 2014;Staples et al. 2013;Stoessel et al. 2012), as well as land use and greenhouse gas emissions (Hennecke et al. 2016;Henriksson et al. 2014;Kauffman and Hayes 2011;Koponen and Soimakallio 2015). Land occupation impacts are also pertinent to many contemporary policy questions, such as the environmental benefits of sustainable intensification in agriculture Garnett et al. 2013;Rockstrom et al. 2017), biofuels (Searchinger et al. 2008), alternative protein sources (Roos et al. 2016;Van Kernebeek et al. 2016;Wirsenius et al. 2010), sustainable healthy diets (Heller et al. 2013;Ridoutt et al. 2017;Sabaté et al. 2016) and land sparing/sharing strategies (Fischer et al. 2014;Phalan et al. 2011), to name a few. The criticality of assessing land occupation in LCA stems from the recognition that from a global perspective land resources are already scarce (Bren d'Amour et al. 2017;Erb et al. 2016;Lambin et al. 2013), many of the major global environmental challenges relate directly to land use (Rockström et al. 2009), and the increasing world population and affluence are creating unprecedented demand for food, fibre and bioenergy products. ...
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Purpose So far, land occupation impact assessment models in life-cycle assessment have predominantly considered biodiversity, ecosystem quality and ecosystem services. However, in a manner similar to water consumption, land occupation has the potential to impact food production and thereby human health. In this study, the impact pathway linking land occupation and protein-energy malnutrition was modelled, establishing a new set of regionalised characterisation factors which were applied in a case study of cotton cultivation. Methods The impact assessment model has three main components: a food production model, a food trade model and an effect factor that relates potential food deficits to malnutrition expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). The food production model uses an NPP-based index to account for variation in the productive capability of land, as well as data on irrigation water supply and national agricultural yields to account for variation in prevailing agricultural technologies. Food production losses have the potential to impact national and global food supplies according to trade status and economic adaptation capacity assessed using the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index. Health damage data from the Global Burden of Disease report and depth of national food deficit data from the FAO are the basis of the effect factor. Results and discussion The model reports potential human health impacts related to land occupation (DALY/m² year) at 5-arc-minute spatial resolution. The model is relevant to all kinds of land occupation, including food production, as no assumptions are made about the ways food products are utilised, which can be many. The model delivers results sensibly in proportion to potential human health impacts of freshwater consumption, i.e. greater in tropical areas and lesser in arid areas. The case study showed that land occupation impacts on human health might cause one DALY/t seed cotton in extreme cases and less than one DALY per thousand tonnes in others. In the case of India, ~ 9% of national malnutrition-related DALYs were attributable to cotton cultivation which occupies ~ 8% of arable land. Conclusions This new model will enable more complete assessment of land occupation impacts in LCA and is especially relevant to the assessment of food, fibre, and bioenergy products. In addition, the model enhances the ability to assess trade-offs which frequently occur, such as between land and water use and GHG emissions. The cotton case study showed that human health impacts can be grossly underestimated in LCA studies when land occupation impacts are not included.
... In all scenarios, the same amount of semi-natural pasture was grazed and the same amount of arable land was used. FromRöös et al. (2016b). ...
Research
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https://www.slu.se/centrumbildningar-och-projekt/futurefood/forskning/-rapporter/ The role of dairy and plant based dairy alternatives in sustainable diets Publ. 2018. Del 3 i serien Future Food Reports. Hållbara dieter som är näringsriktiga, miljövänliga, ekonomiskt bärkraftiga och socialt och kulturellt acceptabelt blir allt mer efterfrågade. Fokus har länge varit om köttets roll och mindre på mejeriprodukter. Nu finns en uppsjö av växtbaserade mjölkalternativ av soja, baljväxter, frön, nötter eller spannmål. De här produkterna har potentiellt lägre negativa effekter än mejeriprodukter men olika näringsprofiler, något som väcker oro. I den här rapporten undersöks olika aspekter av växtbaserade mjölkalternativ. https://www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/org/centrb/fu-food/forskning/rapporter/future-food-reports-3-web.pdf
... Within dairy products, nowadays cheese is experiencing an increasing demand and is the most consumed dairy product after drinking milk (González-García et al., 2013b;Röös et al., 2016;FAO, 2017). Concretely, the per-capita apparent consumption of cheese represents about 3% of the overall basket in the European Union (Notarnicola et al., 2017). ...
Article
The environmental performance of a small-scale cheese factory sited in a NW Spanish region has been analysed by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as representative of numerous cheese traditional factories that are scattered through the European Union, especially in the southern countries. Inventory data were directly obtained from this facility corresponding to one-year operation, and the main subsystems involved in cheese production were included, i.e. raw materials, water, electricity, energy, cleaning products, packaging materials, transports, solid and liquid wastes and gas emissions. Results indicated that the environmental impacts derived from cheese making were mainly originated from raw milk production and the natural land transformation was the most affected of the considered categories. On the contrary, the manufacturing of packaging material and other non-dairy ingredients barely influenced on the total impact. Additionally, an average carbon footprint of the cheeses produced in the analysed facility has also been calculated, resulting milk production and pellet boiler emissions the most contributing subsystems. Furthermore, it was notable the positive environmental effect that entailed the direct use of whey as animal feed, which was considered in this study as avoided fodder. Finally, a revision of published works regarding the environmental performance of cheese production worldwide was provided and compared to results found in the present work. According to the analysed data, it is clear that the content of fat and dry extract are determinant factors for the carbon footprint of cheeses, whereas the cheesemaking scale and the geographical area have a very low effect.
... Within dairy products, nowadays cheese is experiencing an increasing demand and is the most consumed dairy product after drinking milk (González-García et al., 2013b;Röös et al., 2016;FAO, 2017). Concretely, the per-capita apparent consumption of cheese represents about 3% of the overall basket in the European Union (Notarnicola et al., 2017). ...
Article
Food production in intensive farming systems can be unsustainable in several ways. Although hen egg is consumed worldwide as a very valuable and cheap source of protein, there is an evident lack of studies concerning the environmental performance of egg production. The European Union produces approximately 7 million tonnes of useable eggs per annum and Spain is one of the largest egg producers. In this work, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was applied to analyse the environmental impacts of intensive egg production using as a model a Spanish farm with 55,000 laying hens, producing about 13 million eggs per year. High quality inventory data was obtained directly from this facility. The main factors involved in egg production were included (hen feed, water, electricity, transport, cleaning elements, packaging material, replacement of exhausted laying hens, wastes and gas emissions). Inventory data were analysed using the ReCiPe Midpoint (H) V1.12/Europe Recipe H, the ReCiPe Endpoint (H) V1.12/Europe Recipe H methods and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol V1.01/C02 eq (kg) by means of the LCA software package SimaPro v8. LCA results showed that, according to normalization results, natural land transformation was the most prominent category, followed by terrestrial ecotoxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity. The most important source of harmful environmental impacts in all the categories under assessment was the production of the hen feed and, to a lesser extent, the purchase of new laying hens to replace the old ones. On the contrary, water consumption and the employment of chemicals for cleaning barely influenced the impact. One aspect that was noteworthy was the beneficial effect on environmental impact produced by the sale of old laying hens for meat production, especially on the urban land occupation and metal depletion categories. Additionally, the carbon footprint of egg production was calculated and a value of 2.66 kgCO2eq per dozen eggs was obtained. Environmental improvement actions should be directed mainly towards optimizing the hen feed formulation, not only from an economic perspective, but also considering the environmental aspects involved.
Chapter
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Bitkisel Sütlerin Elde Edilme Kaynakları ve Üretim Yöntemleri
Chapter
Plant-based beverages are gaining popularity among consumers who are seeking alternative and environmentally sustainable options to traditional dairy drinks. The food industry is therefore developing a range of affordable, convenient, desirable, nutritional, and sustainable plant-based milk alternatives. This chapter provides an overview of the current knowledge on fundamental processing steps to convert plant material into plant-based beverages, what are processing challenges for different plant sources, how to overcome these challenges and potential quality deficiencies, and what are the opportunities to maximize textural, nutritional, and sensory aspects of plant-based beverages.
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Food system technologies (FSTs) are being developed to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable food systems. Here we conducted a systematic scoping review that accounts for multiple dimensions of sustainability to describe the extent, range and nature of peer-reviewed literature that assesses the sustainability performance of four FSTs: plant-based alternatives, vertical farming, food deliveries and blockchain technology. Included literature had a dominant focus on environmental sustainability and less on public health and socio-economic sustainability. Gaps in the literature include empirical assessments on the sustainability of blockchain technology, plant-based seafood alternatives, public health consequences of food deliveries and socio-economic consequences of vertical farming. The development of a holistic sustainability assessment framework that demonstrates the impact of deploying FSTs is needed to guide investments in and the development of sustainable food innovation.
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Grasslands provide important livestock products such as beef and milk, the main source of daily nutrients for human beings. However, ecological degradation has occurred in nearly 50% of global grasslands, which seriously restricts livestock product supply and impairs human well-beings. Sustainable management measures are explored both in developed and developing regions to curb grassland degradation trend and achieve economic-ecological coordination. We focused on the differences of grassland management measures and their economic-ecological effects between developed regions (US, New Zealand and Western Europe) and developing regions (Inner Mongolia, China) along the “global gold pastures” in middle-latitude zone, by analyzing human-induced grassland productivity changes based on satellite remote sensing, and livestock carrying pressure based on forage-livestock relationship. The results showed the human-induced GPP on grasslands were higher in those developed regions than Inner Mongolia, while the livestock carrying pressures of grasslands were lower, which indicated that the ecological effect of grassland management measures was more positive in the developed regions. Although strict grassland-livestock balance policies had effectively altered the degradation trends in Inner Mongolia grassland, the economic growth still strongly relies on increasing livestock quantity within the grazing limitation, while those developed regions increased the economic benefits and also reduce the ecological pressure caused by livestock grazing in the meantime. Artificial pastures construction together with improved production efficiency effectively mitigated the ecological pressure on grasslands and also brought more economic benefits in those developed regions, which could also enlighten other developing regions to promoting sustainable utilization of grasslands and development of animal husbandry.
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Cheese is one of the dairy products that have an important role in a family"s food basket. Different types of cheese are produced in the world. In Iran, Lighvan cheese is very popular among people due to its special flavor, but the produced whey from this type of cheese is discarded. Due to its high biological oxygen demand (BOD), whey has a detrimental effect on the environment, and providing solutions to reduce these effects can pave the way for the cheese industry, especially Lighvan cheese. One of the proposed solutions is to produce wheyless cheese. Some studies have been done in this field, if the method of producing cheese without whey does not reduce the unique features of Lighvan cheese it could be a very suitable option for producing this type of popular cheese. So, in this study, we attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of various aspects of Lighvan cheese, environmental disadvantages of whey, and methods of reduction of its destructive effects including the production of wheyless cheese.
Preprint
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Food system technologies (FSTs) are being developed at an unprecedented rate to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable food systems. Sustainability is a multi-faceted concept and innovations may inadvertently promote one facet while compromising another. Yet, limited empirical evidence on the sustainability performance and trade-offs of novel FSTs exist. We conducted a systematic scoping review that accounts for multiple dimensions of sustainability to synthesize peer-reviewed research assessing the sustainability performance of four novel FSTs: plant-based alternatives, vertical farming, food delivery and blockchain technology. Included literature assessed a wide range of sustainability indicators, with a dominant focus on environmental sustainability. Significant research gaps on the public health and socio-economic implications of these FSTs remain. Additional research is explicitly required to understand the general sustainability implications of plant-based seafood alternatives and blockchain technology, public health consequences of food deliveries, and socio-economic consequences of vertical farming. The sustainability performance of FSTs varied across the literature and for sustainability indicators. The development of a holistic sustainability assessment framework that illustrates the implications of deploying and scaling FSTs is needed. This can guide investments in and the development of sustainable food innovation.
Chapter
Oats are healthy and nutritious cereals. They are characterized by a high content of vitamins, minerals and soluble fibers, as well as of macronutrients. Recent evidences show that oat based foods are also suitable for the diet of people suffering celiac disease. These nutritional properties make oats an important part of a balanced diet and determine a constantly growing demand for diverse oat products. For this reason, oats and other traditional and novel crops, such as hemp seeds, are the basis for sustainable alternatives to milk and dairy products. Oat by-products can be chemically processed to obtain renewable and sustainable chemicals for industry.
Article
CONTEXT Most information on relative yield of organic (OA) and conventional agriculture (CA) is from plot experiments of individual crops grown with organic or inorganic fertilizers, respectively. Commonly reported values are 0.75–0.91, a relatively small difference. But organic manures are produced through biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) by legumes. How much and what else does that land in legumes contribute to overall yield? OBJECTIVE Establishment of OA/CA yield ratios for crop-dairy production at regional scale accounting for proportions of land in crop and fodder production and their contributions to overall food yield using human metabolizable energy (HME) as a unifying parameter of yield of grain and milk. METHODS Average yield of grain and fodder crops per unit farm area for OA and CA in eight regions of Sweden were converted to human (HME) and ruminant metabolizable energy (RME), respectively. Two diets for dairy cattle were constructed to maximize either yield of HME in grain plus milk (maxHME) or in milk (maxmilk) from all grown fodder supplemented by crop products while maintaining overall diet quality at 15% crude protein (CP). RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS Average regional annual primary production (dry biomass), including crop residues, of 6361 (range 4862–7793) kg/ha for OA was less than 9223 (range 6337–12,910) kg/ha in CA. OA had greater proportion of land in fodder crops and pasture (65%, range 38–87%) than CA (30%, range 11–86%). Total HME yields (grain plus milk) were less in OA than CA but with large variation between regions, maxHME OA 21.2 (range 11.0–30.4) GJ/ha and CA 43.6 (16.2–82.1) GJ/ha and maxmilk OA 19.9 (range 9.1–27.4) GJ/ha and CA 42.9 (range 16.0–80.9) GJ/ha. Regional OA/CA HME-yield ratios ranged from 0.43 to 0.74, with greater values in northern regions of low productivity where crop intensification is constrained by low temperature. SIGNIFICANCE This analysis establishes smaller relative yields of OA than are commonly reported. Smaller yields per crop area in OA are further reduced at farm (system) level relative to CA by the larger proportion of land required in legume-based crops and pastures. Ruminant animals provide some compensation for that land by converting human-inedible fodder to human food. Consequently, transformation of CA farmland to OA would require additional land, up to 130% in productive southern and central regions, to maintain equal overall yield. More such comprehensive data are required for calculation of OA/CA yield ratios at the system level.
Book
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This book provides the first systematic and accessible text for students of hospitality and the culinary arts that directly addresses how more sustainable restaurants and commercial food services can be achieved. Food systems receive growing attention because they link various sustainability dimensions. Restaurants are at the heart of these developments, and their decisions to purchase regional foods, or to prepare menus that are healthier and less environmentally problematic, have great influence on food production processes. This book is systematically designed around understanding the inputs and outputs of the commercial kitchen as well as what happens in the restaurant from the perspective of operators, staff and the consumer. The book considers different management approaches and further looks at the role of restaurants, chefs and staff in the wider community and the positive contributions that commercial kitchens can make to promoting sustainable food ways. Case studies from all over the world illustrate the tools and techniques helping to meet environmental and economic bottom lines. This will be essential reading for all students of hospitality and the culinary arts. Available from: https://www.routledge.com/The-Sustainable-Chef-The-Environment-in-Culinary-Arts-Restaurants-and/Gossling-Hall/p/book/9781138733732
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It is evident that interest in plant-based milk alternative products is increasing, although there are still difficulties with undesired sensorial properties. This study seeks to contribute to sustainable food development through a better understanding of the market situation. The objective of this study was to get a comprehensive overview of 90 plant-based beverages currently available on the Estonian market. Main focus of this research was to map the plant-based beverage market sensorially. To evaluate such a large set of samples, RATA (Rate-All-That-Apply) was explored as a method for market mapping. A wide range of products made from different raw materials was characterized. Sensory analysis was able to make some conclusions based on specific raw materials, as there was a lot of variety among different sample groups. Combining the data collected from sensory and aroma analysis (GC/MS/O) helped to further examine the effect of volatile compounds on sensory properties of various product types. Some key compounds were found in different products, including compounds that may be causing off-flavors.
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Dairy cows are able to convert fibrous materials, such as grass, roughage, and by-products from the food industry, into milk and meat, which justifies their role in food production. However, modern dairy farming is associated with major sustainability challenges, including greenhouse gas emissions. In order to develop sustainable future production, it is important to implement existing knowledge and fill knowledge gaps. The aim of this study was to systematically map the scientific literature on environmental, economic, and social sustainability at farm level in dairy farming. Literature published between January 2000 and March 2020 and with the geographical focus on Europe, North America, and Australia–New Zealand was included. In total, the literature search resulted in 169 hits, but after removing duplicates and papers outside the study scope only 35 papers remained. Of these, only 11 dealt with the three dimensions of sustainability, and several of these only mentioned one or two of the dimensions or set them in relation to that/those actually studied. Overall, the selected literature did not clearly explain how aspects of sustainability are interlinked, so possible negative or positive interactions between different aspects of sustainability dimensions remain unidentified.
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The sustainability of future poultry production needs to be improved in order to meet global challenges. The global chicken population has expanded significantly in recent decades, due to increased human demand for eggs and chicken meat. Therefore, it is critically important to mitigate challenges to the sustainability of modern poultry production, such as pollution, the depletion of finite natural resources and animal welfare issues. This study systematically mapped the scientific literature on farm-level sustainability in egg and chicken meat production. The concept of sustainability was considered holistically, covering its economic, environmental and social dimensions, each consisting of a broad range of different aspects that may contradict or reinforce each other. The literature published between January 2000 and March 2020 with a geographical focus on Europe, North America and Australia–New Zealand, were included. The literature search resulted in a total of 428 hits, but after the exclusion of articles that did not match the scope of the study, only 26 papers remained for the systematic mapping. Of these, only three papers covered all three dimensions of sustainability. Aspects of economic sustainability were addressed in 10 papers, aspects of environmental sustainability in 18 papers, and aspects of social sustainability in 23 papers. The findings in this study are an important foundation for the discussion and prioritisation of future actions to increase knowledge of farm-level sustainability in egg and chicken meat production.
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The global food system is facing severe challenges, and is predicted to face even greater challenges in the future, prompting calls for its transformation; in production, resource use efficiency and prevention of waste. Some of the food system drivers for, and risks from, climate change are discussed. A concept involving the production of Oat Milk combined with the insect "biomass transformer" Hermetia illucens (Black Soldier Fly) is explored. A short literature review on challenges in the agricultural and food production system was performed, and how both of these products could help to relieve them. The larvae of the Black Soldier Fly create proteins and lipids efficiently from any organic waste, with a range of possible uses. This concept would "close-loops" in nutrients flow within the food system, raising resource use efficiency. To test this concept, models of four separate projects were created; two oat milk producing factories (OMF), a Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) project that would digest the Oat Fiber Residue (OFR) produced by OMF, and finally a BSFL project for digesting 30 tons per day of food waste (FW). Models for the projects were built (in the context of a Bulgarian farm) using realistic contextual cash flow values and assembled into scenarios with a common project length. A Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) was performed to see if they would be worthy of investmest. All scenarios returned positive net present values (NPV). This CBA was then subjected to sensitivity testing to find which variables were sensitive to change (affecting the scenario NPV in a disproportionate or large manner). These sensitive variables were then modelled into a Monte Carlo Simulation to check the risk involved in such investments. Using the Monte Carlo Simulation, a large amount (n=100,000) of repeated runs with randomly generated values for the sensitive variables (within defined range and probability distribution) was carried out. The NPV outputs from this were then compared to see how the final NPV values were distributed, and the risk of a negative result. The results of the Monte Carlo further supported the idea that all of these projects would be worth pursuing (no NPVs were negative), however the smaller BSFL scenarios were quite sensitive to variables and would be quite high risk if taken alone. Scenarios performed well when combined with an OMF though, and the intangible benefits and positive externalities could be very high.
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Effectively adapting to climate change involves overcoming social and ecological system barriers. The present study uses a three‐phase adaptation framework to propose adaptation strategies aimed at overcoming socioecological barriers of the food–energy–water (FEW) nexus. Cradle‐to‐farm‐gate land, greenhouse gas (GHG), and water impacts—that derive from food consumption in the United States—are analyzed and differentiated by major demographic groups (Black, Latinx, and White). Results indicate that the White demographic yields the highest per capita GHG (680 kg of CO2 eq⋅year−1) and water impacts (328,600 L⋅year−1) from food consumption, whereas the Black demographic yields the highest per capita land impacts (1,770 m2⋅year−1) from food consumption. Our findings suggest that obtaining data with the intention of building consensus across sociodemographic lines overcomes barriers in the understanding phase, leading to increased social receptivity for many planning and managing phase processes. Specifically, we find that identifying and developing leaders who possess the cognitive and interpersonal capacity to manage many variables and stakeholders is key to assessing and selecting adaptation options in the planning phase. We also propose using government programming to encourage environmentally friendly food purchasing behavior. Then, we discuss how our proposals could be used in adaptation feasibility and evaluation activities in the managing phase. In all, these findings facilitate the development of improved climate change adaptation and policy by satisfying the understanding phase of the climate change adaptation framework, establishing a cross‐disciplinary methodological approach to addressing socioecological problems, and providing useful FEW impact data for FEW nexus and climate change researchers.
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The global impacts of food production Food is produced and processed by millions of farmers and intermediaries globally, with substantial associated environmental costs. Given the heterogeneity of producers, what is the best way to reduce food's environmental impacts? Poore and Nemecek consolidated data on the multiple environmental impacts of ∼38,000 farms producing 40 different agricultural goods around the world in a meta-analysis comparing various types of food production systems. The environmental cost of producing the same goods can be highly variable. However, this heterogeneity creates opportunities to target the small numbers of producers that have the most impact. Science , this issue p. 987
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This report distills current research to reveal the human, environmental, and social impacts of the production of high-protein foods other than meat to arm hospitals and other institutions with key information to design the healthiest plate. The findings and associated Purchasing Considerations guide the complex decision-making process encountered when applying an environmental nutrition approach to food purchases, specifically when reducing and replacing meat on the plate.
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Recent studies show that current trends in yield improvement will not be su cientto meet projected global food demand in 2050, and suggest that a further expansion of agricultural area will be required. However, agriculture is the main driver of losses of biodiversity and a major contributor to climate change and pollution, and so further expansion is undesirable. The usual proposed alternative-intensification with increased resource use-also has negative effects. It is therefore imperative to find ways to achieve global food security without expanding crop or pastureland and without increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Some authors have emphasized a role for sustainable intensification in closing global 'yield gaps' between the currently realized and potentially achievable yields. However, in this paper we use a transparent, data-driven model, to show that even if yield gaps are closed, the projected demand will drive further agricultural expansion. There are, however, options for reduction on the demand side that are rarely considered. In the second part of this paper we quantify the potential for demand-side mitigation options, and show that improved diets and decreases in food waste are essential to deliver emissions reductions, and to provide global food security in 2050.
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Abstract A growing number of consumers opt for plant based milk substitutes for medical reasons or as a lifestyle choice. Medical reasons include lactose intolerance with a worldwide prevalence of 75% and cow's milk allergy. Also in countries where mammal milk is scarce and expensive, plant milk substitutes serve as a more affordable option. However many of these products have sensory characteristics objectionable to the mainstream Western palate. Technologically, plant milk substitutes are suspensions of dissolved and disintegrated plant material in water, resembling cow's milk in appearance. They are manufactured by extracting the plant material in water, separating the liquid and formulating the final product. Homogenisation and thermal treatments are necessary to improve the suspension and microbial stabilities of commercial products that can be consumed as such or be further processed into fermented dairy type products. The nutritional properties depend on the plant source, processing and fortification. As some products have extremely low protein and calcium contents, consumer awareness is important when plant milk substitutes are used to replace cow's milk in the diet e.g. in the case of dairy intolerances. If formulated into palatable and nutritionally adequate products, plant based substitutes can offer a sustainable alternative to dairy products.
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The potential for climate change mitigation by bioenergy crops and terrestrial carbon sinks has been the object of intensive research in the past decade. There has been much debate about whether energy crops used to offset fossil fuel use, or carbon sequestration in forests, would provide the best climate mitigation benefit. Most current food cropland is unlikely to be used for bioenergy, but in many regions of the world, a proportion of cropland is being abandoned, particularly marginal croplands, and some of this land is now being used for bioenergy. In this paper we assess the consequences of land use change on cropland. We first identify areas where cropland is so productive that it may never be converted, and assess the potential of the remaining cropland to mitigate climate change by identifying which alternative land use provides the best climate benefit: C4 grass bioenergy crops, coppiced woody energy crops, or allowing forest regrowth to create a carbon sink. We do not present this as a scenario of land use change – we simply assess the best option in any given global location should a land use change occur. To do this we use global biomass potential studies based on food-crop productivity, forest inventory data, and Dynamic Global Vegetation Models to provide, for the first time, a global comparison of the climate change implications of either deploying bioenergy crops or allowing forest regeneration on current crop land, over a period of 20 years starting in the nominal year of 2000 AD.Globally, the extent of cropland on which conversion to energy crops or forest would result in a net carbon loss, and therefore likely always to remain as cropland, was estimated to be about 420.1 Mha, or 35.6% of the total cropland in Africa, 40.3% in Asia and Russia Federation, 30.8% in Europe-25, 48.4% in North America, 13.7% in South America, and 58.5% in Oceania. Fast growing C4 Grasses such as Miscanthus and switch-grass cultivars are the bioenergy feedstock with the highest climate mitigation potential. Fast growing C4 grasses such as Miscanthus and switch-grass cultivars provide the best climate mitigation option on ≈ 485 Mha of cropland worldwide with ~ 42% of this land characterized by a terrain slope equal or above 20%. If that land use change did occur, it would displace ≈ 58.1 Pg fossil fuel C equivalent (Ceq oil). Woody energy crops such as poplar, willow, and Eucalyptus species would be the best option on only 2.4% (≈ 26.3 Mha) of current cropland, and if this land use change occurred it would displace ≈ 0.9 Pg Ceq oil. Allowing cropland to revert to forest would be the best climate mitigation option on ≈ 17% of current cropland (≈ 184.5 Mha) and if this land use change occurred it would sequester ≈ 5.8 Pg C in biomass in the 20-year-old forest, and ≈ 2.7 Pg C in soil.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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In het rapport 'The protein puzzle. The consumption and production of meat, dairy and fish in the European Union' brengen onderzoekers van het Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (PBL) in kaart wat de gevolgen van de productie en consumptie van dierlijke eiwitten zijn voor milieu, natuur en gezondheid. Vervolgens schetst het PBL welke opties er in Europees verband zijn om de negatieve effecten te verminderen. Met deze studie verschaft het PBL relevante feiten en cijfers ten behoeve van het debat over eiwitconsumptie, inclusief een indicatie van de onzekerheden daarbij.
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In the coming decades, a crucial challenge for humanity will be meeting future food demands without undermining further the integrity of the Earth's environmental systems. Agricultural systems are already major forces of global environmental degradation, but population growth and increasing consumption of calorie- and meat-intensive diets are expected to roughly double human food demand by 2050 (ref. 3). Responding to these pressures, there is increasing focus on 'sustainable intensification' as a means to increase yields on underperforming landscapes while simultaneously decreasing the environmental impacts of agricultural systems. However, it is unclear what such efforts might entail for the future of global agricultural landscapes. Here we present a global-scale assessment of intensification prospects from closing 'yield gaps' (differences between observed yields and those attainable in a given region), the spatial patterns of agricultural management practices and yield limitation, and the management changes that may be necessary to achieve increased yields. We find that global yield variability is heavily controlled by fertilizer use, irrigation and climate. Large production increases (45% to 70% for most crops) are possible from closing yield gaps to 100% of attainable yields, and the changes to management practices that are needed to close yield gaps vary considerably by region and current intensity. Furthermore, we find that there are large opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture by eliminating nutrient overuse, while still allowing an approximately 30% increase in production of major cereals (maize, wheat and rice). Meeting the food security and sustainability challenges of the coming decades is possible, but will require considerable changes in nutrient and water management.
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Biofuels are forms of energy (heat, power, transport fuels or chemicals) based on different kinds of biomass. There is much discussion on the availability of different biomass sources for bioenergy application and on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fossil fuels. There is much less discussion on the other effects of biomass such as the acceleration of the nitrogen cycle through increased fertilizer use resulting in losses to the environment and additional emissions of oxidized nitrogen. This paper provides an overview of the state of knowledge on nitrogen and biofuels. Increasing biofuel production touch upon several sustainability issues for which reason sustainability criteria are being developed for biomass use. We propose that these criteria should include the disturbance of the nitrogen cycle for biomass options that require additional fertilizer inputs. Optimization of the nitrogen use efficiency and the development of second generation technologies will help fulfill the sustainability criteria.
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Increasing population and consumption are placing unprecedented demands on agriculture and natural resources. Today, approximately a billion people are chronically malnourished while our agricultural systems are concurrently degrading land, water, biodiversity and climate on a global scale. To meet the world's future food security and sustainability needs, food production must grow substantially while, at the same time, agriculture's environmental footprint must shrink dramatically. Here we analyse solutions to this dilemma, showing that tremendous progress could be made by halting agricultural expansion, closing 'yield gaps' on underperforming lands, increasing cropping efficiency, shifting diets and reducing waste. Together, these strategies could double food production while greatly reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.
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Continuing population and consumption growth will mean that the global demand for food will increase for at least another 40 years. Growing competition for land, water, and energy, in addition to the overexploitation of fisheries, will affect our ability to produce food, as will the urgent requirement to reduce the impact of the food system on the environment. The effects of climate change are a further threat. But the world can produce more food and can ensure that it is used more efficiently and equitably. A multifaceted and linked global strategy is needed to ensure sustainable and equitable food security, different components of which are explored here.
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Recently, vegetarian diets have experienced an increase in popularity. A vegetarian diet is associated with many health benefits because of its higher content of fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium, and many phytochemicals and a fat content that is more unsaturated. Compared with other vegetarian diets, vegan diets tend to contain less saturated fat and cholesterol and more dietary fiber. Vegans tend to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, reducing their risk of heart disease. However, eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids. Unless vegans regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients, appropriate supplements should be consumed. In some cases, iron and zinc status of vegans may also be of concern because of the limited bioavailability of these minerals.
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The Agenda 21, which was adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, resulted in the general concept of ‘sustainable development’ as a political guideline around the world (UNCED 1992). The protection of nature, its ecological functions and natural resources has a central role in this context, not least because of the regulations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (Goodland et al. 1992; Haber 1998a,b; IUCN 1980; McNeely et al. 1990).
Article
Recently, there has been an explosion of life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies of biofuels to support biofuel policy making. It is difficult to draw general conclusions from the set of studies due to the variation in outcomes. Causes of this variation include real-world differences, data uncertainties and methodological choices. In this review we explore some of the more complicated sources of differences in findings related to LCA methodology by reviewing 67 LCA studies published between 2005 and 2010. A very important and particularly difficult problem to solve is coproduct allocation. Different allocation methods, all approved under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard for LCA studies, can cause improvement percentages compared with fossil fuels to vary from negative to above 100%. The treatment of biogenic carbon is another important issue. Most studies include neither extractions nor emissions of biogenic CO2, but a number of these LCAs do include both, leading to very different conclusions on greenhouse gas performance of biofuel chains.
Article
Allocation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) is challenging especially when multi-functionality of dairy farms, which do not only produce milk but also meat is considered. Moreover, some farms fulfill a wide range of additional services for society such as management of renewable natural resources as well as preservation of biodiversity and cultural landscapes. Due to the increasing degradation of ecosystems many industrialized as well as developing countries designed payment systems for environmental services. This study examines different allocation methods of GHG for a comparatively large convenience sample of 113 dairy farms located in grassland-based areas of southern Germany. Results are carbon footprints of 1.99 kg CO2eq/kg of fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM) on average if “no allocation” for coupled products is performed. “Physical allocation” results in 1.53 kg CO2eq/kg FPCM and “conventional economic allocation” in 1.66 kg CO2eq/kg FPCM on average if emissions are apportioned between milk and meat. Economic allocation which includes ecosystem services for society based on the farm net income as a new aspect in this study results in a carbon footprint of 1.5 kg CO2eq/kg FPCM on average. System expansion that puts greater emphasis on coupled beef production accounts for a carbon footprint of 0.68 kg CO2eq/kg FPCM on average. Intense milk production systems with higher milk yields show better results based on “no allocation”, “physical allocation” and “conventional economic allocation”. By contrast, economic allocation, which takes into account ecosystem services favors extensive systems, especially in less favored areas. This shows that carbon footprints of dairy farms should not be examined one-dimensionally based on the amount of milk and meat that is produced on the farm. Rather, a broader perspective is necessary that takes into account the multi-functionality of dairy farms especially in countries where a wide range of ecosystem services is provided.
Article
A carbon footprint is the sum of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) associated with food production, processing, transporting, and retailing. We examined the relation between the energy and nutrient content of foods and associated GHGEs as expressed as g CO2 equivalents. GHGE values, which were calculated and provided by a French supermarket chain, were merged with the Composition Nutritionnelle des Aliments (French food-composition table) nutrient-composition data for 483 foods and beverages from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Foods were aggregated into 34 food categories and 5 major food groups as follows: meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, frozen and processed fruit and vegetables, grains, and sweets. Energy density was expressed as kcal/100 g. Nutrient density was determined by using 2 alternative nutrient-density scores, each based on the sum of the percentage of daily values for 6 or 15 nutrients, respectively. The energy and nutrient densities of foods were linked to log-transformed GHGE values expressed per 100 g or 100 kcal. Grains and sweets had lowest GHGEs (per 100 g and 100 kcal) but had high energy density and a low nutrient content. The more-nutrient-dense animal products, including meat and dairy, had higher GHGE values per 100 g but much lower values per 100 kcal. In general, a higher nutrient density of foods was associated with higher GHGEs per 100 kcal, although the slopes of fitted lines varied for meat and dairy compared with fats and sweets. Considerations of the environmental impact of foods need to be linked to concerns about nutrient density and health. The point at which the higher carbon footprint of some nutrient-dense foods is offset by their higher nutritional value is a priority area for additional research. © 2015 American Society for Nutrition.
Article
In 1798, Thomas Robert Malthus published 'An essay on the principle of population' in which he concluded that: 'The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race.' Over the following century he was criticised for underestimating the potential for scientific and technological innovation to provide positive change. Since then, he has been proved wrong, with a number of papers published during the past few decades pointing out why he has been proved wrong so many times. In the present paper, I briefly review the main changes in food production in the past that have allowed us to continue to meet ever growing demand for food, and I examine the possibility of these same innovations delivering food security in the future. On the basis of recent studies, I conclude that technological innovation can no longer be relied upon to prove Malthus wrong as we strive to feed 9-10 billion people by 2050. Unless we are prepared to accept a wide range of significant, undesirable environmental consequences, technology alone cannot provide food security in 2050. Food demand, particularly the demand for livestock products, will need to be managed if we are to continue to prove Malthus wrong into the future.
Article
The aim of the study is to develop a tool, which can be used for calculation of carbon footprint (using a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach) of milk both at a farm level and at a national level. The functional unit is ‘1 kg energy corrected milk (ECM) at farm gate’ and the applied methodology is LCA. The model includes switches that enables for, within the same scope, transforming the results to comply with 1) consequential LCA, 2) allocation/average modelling (or ‘attributional LCA’), 3) PAS 2050 and 4) The International Dairy Federations (IDF) guide to standard life cycle assessment methodology for the dairy sector. The key elements of consequential LCA and the IDF guide are presented and explained by examples. The national carbon footprints (CF) for milk produced in Denmark and Sweden in 2005 are presented.
Article
The carbon footprint (CF), the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted during a product's lifecycle, was evaluated as an indicator of the wider environmental impacts of meat production using existing life cycle assessments of different types of meat (pork, chicken and beef). The CF generally acts as an indicator of acidification and eutrophication potential, since more efficient use of nitrogen leads to less eutrophying and acidifying substances being released to the environment and to lower GHG emissions in nitrous oxide form. GHG mitigation strategies based on more efficient use of feed can therefore also lead to decreased acidification and eutrophication potential. Decreased GHG emissions due to increased productivity mean less land is required for feed production, so CF can act as a proxy for land use. For the impact category primary energy use, apparent conflicts with CF were identified. Pasture-based beef production can be either very energy-efficient or energy-demanding, but both forms produce high CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation. For monogastric animal production, CF can function as an indicator of primary energy use, as both energy use and GHG emissions originate mainly from feed production. It is unclear how the biodiversity impact category correlates to CF. More intensive production can allow more land to be left in its natural state, but can involve increased use of pesticides and fertilisers and monocropping locally, threatening biodiversity. Using CF as an indicator of the environmental impact of meat can generate conflicts with other environmental categories in some cases. However, the risk of damaging other environmental areas when acting on CF must be weighed against the risk of further neglecting to act on global warming by failing to exploit the current market momentum of carbon footprinting.
Article
This study compiles data of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from 13 fields on mineral soils in Finland with differing soil type, crop and management. Measurements using the chamber technique were conducted for periods of 1–3 years on each field in 2000–2009. The annual emissions varied between 0.12 and 12 kg N2O-N ha−1 yr−1 and the emission rates were higher for annual compared to perennial crops. Statistical mixed models were derived based on the measured emissions of N2O and background variables. Environmental and management data available for the analysis were the crop, fertilizer rate, type of fertilizer, soil characteristics and weather data. Models with the fertilizer rate and type of crop (annual/perennial) as variables were selected as the simplest method to estimate the flux of N2O from mineral agricultural soils. The effect of fertilizer type (mineral/organic) can be added to obtain a more detailed model. In the case of manures, the amount of mineral nitrogen was better related to N2O flux than the amount of total nitrogen. These models give realistic estimates of N2O fluxes in boreal conditions with frozen soils in the winter, frequently renewed grasslands and spring-sown crops as majority of the annual crops.
Article
Purpose Consequential LCA (CLCA) is becoming widely used in the scientific community as a modelling technique which describes the consequences of a decision. However, despite the increasing number of case studies published, a proper systematization of the approach has not yet been achieved. This paper investigates the methodological implications of CLCA and the extent to which the applications are in line with the theoretical dictates. Moreover, the predictive and explorative nature of CLCA is discussed, highlighting the role of scenario modelling in further structuring the methodology. Methods An extensive literature review was performed, involving around 60 articles published over a period of approximately 18 years, and addressing both methodological issues and applications. The information was elaborated according to two main aspects: what for (questions and modes of LCA) and what (methodological implications of CLCA), with focus on the nature of modelling and on the identification of the affected processes. Results and discussion The analysis points out that since the modelling principles of attributional LCA (ALCA) and CLCA are the same, what distinguishes the two modes of LCA is the choice of the processes to be included in the system (i.e. in CLCA, those that are affected by the market dynamics). However, the identification of those processes is often done inconsistently, using different arguments, which leads to different results. We suggest the use of scenario modelling as a way to support CLCA in providing a scientifically sound basis to model specific product-related futures with respect to technology development, market shift, and other variables. Conclusions The CLCA is a sophisticated modelling technique that provides a way to assess the environmental consequences of an action/decision by including market mechanisms into the analysis. There is still room for improvements of the method and for further research, especially in relation to the following aspects: clarifying when and which market information is important and necessary; understanding the role of scenario modelling within CLCA; and developing a procedure to support the framing of questions to better link questions to models. Moreover, we suggest that the logic of mechanisms could be the reading guide for overcoming the dispute between ALCA and CLCA. Going further, this logic could also be extended, considering CLCA as an approach—rather than as a modelling principle with defined rules—to deepen LCA, providing the conceptual basis for including more mechanisms than just the market ones.
Article
Trials at Tulloch, Aberdeen (sandy loam soil, 820 mm rainfall) and Woodside, Elgin (light sandy loam, 730 mm) compared organically managed crop rotations containing different proportions of spring oats, swedes, potatoes and grass/clover leys (0·50 and 0·67 of the rotation at Tulloch; 0·38 and 0·50 at Woodside). The trials simulated farm conditions through the use of grazing animals and the recycling of farmyard manure. The rotations at each site gave similar financial outputs. Yields of oats were higher where these were grown after the main ley phase of the rotation than where they were grown later in the rotation (more ears/m2 and grains/ear), but were not significantly higher after a 4-year ley than after a 3-year ley at Tulloch. It was concluded that all of the rotations were agronomically and financially sustainable. Cereal yields showed large year-to-year variations but little indication of a progressive decline. There were only small changes in soil organic matter, soil P and soil K. Increased early summer weed cover in the arable crops was not matched by increases in weed invasion in the grass/clover leys and did not appear to be affecting yields.
Article
This paper aims to collect and analyse existing information on different filter media used for phosphorus (P) removal from wastewater in constructed wetlands. The most commonly used materials are categorized as natural materials (considered in 39 papers), industrial byproducts (25 papers) and man-made products (10 papers). A majority of studies on sorbents have been carried out in lab-scale systems as batch experiments, and only very few studies have highlighted results on full-scale systems. Among the great variety of filter media studied, most of materials had a pH level >7 and high Ca (CaO) content. The highest P-removal capacities were reported for various industrial byproducts (up to 420 g P kg−1 for some furnace slags), followed by natural materials (maximum 40 g P kg−1 for heated opoka) and man-made filter media (maximum 12 g P kg−1 for Filtralite). We found a significant positive Spearman Rank Order Correlation between the P retention and CaO and Ca content of filter materials (R2 = 0.51 and 0.43, respectively), whereas the relation of P retention to pH level was weak (R2 = 0.22) but significant. There is probably an optimal level of hydraulic loading rate at which the P removal is the highest. Additional important factors determining the applicability of filter materials in treatment wetlands such as saturation time, availability at a local level, content of heavy metals, and the recyclability of saturated filter media as fertilizer should be taken into consideration.
Article
Various scenario typologies have been suggested in attempts to make the field of futures studies easier to overview. Our typology is based on the scenario user's need to know what will happen, what can happen, and/or how a predefined target can be achieved. We discuss the applicability of various generating, integrating and consistency techniques for developing scenarios that provide the required knowledge. The paper is intended as a step towards a guide as to how scenarios can be developed and used.
Article
Swedish arable land covers 3 Mha and its topsoil contains about 300 Mton C. The mineral soils seem to be close to steady-state, but the organic soils (about 10% of total arable land) have been estimated to lose ca. 1 Mton/year. We have devised a conceptual model (ICBMregion), using national agricultural crop yield/manuring statistics and allometric functions to calculate annual C input to the soil together with a five-parameter soil carbon model (ICBMr), calibrated using long-term field data. In Sweden, annual yield statistics are reported for different crops, for each of eight agricultural regions. Present topsoil carbon content and regional distribution of soil types have recently been measured. We use daily weather station data for each region together with crop type (bulked from individual crop data) and soil type to calculate an annual soil climate parameter for each crop/soil type permutation in each region. We use 14 soil types and 9 crop types, which gives 126 parameter sets for each year and region, each representing a fraction of the region's area. For each year, region, crop and soil type, ICBMregion calculates the change in young and old soil carbon per hectare, and sums up the changes to, e.g., national changes. With eight regions, we will have 1008 parameter sets per year, which easily can be handled, and what-if scenarios as well as comparisons between benchmark years are readily made. We will use the model to compare the soil C pools between the IPCC benchmark year 1990 and the present. In principle, we use inverse modelling from the sampled, recent soil C pools to estimate those in 1990. In the calculations, soil climate and yield for each year from 1990 onwards are taken into account. Then we can project soil C balances into the future under different scenarios, e.g., business as usual, land use change or changes in agricultural crops or cultivation practices. Projections of regional climate change are also available, so we can quite easily make projections of soil C dynamics under, e.g., different climate scenarios. We can follow the dynamic effects of carbon sequestration efforts – and estimate their efficiency. The approach is conceptually simple, fairly complete, and can easily be adapted to different needs and availability of data. However, perhaps the greatest advantage is that the results from this comprehensive approach used for, e.g., a 10-year period, can be condensed into a very simple spreadsheet model for calculating effects of management/land use changes on C stocks in agricultural soils.
Article
Purpose This paper investigates different methodologies of handling co-products in life cycle assessment (LCA) or carbon footprint (CF) studies. Co-product handling can have a significant effect on final LCA/CF results, and although there are guidelines on the preferred order for different methods for handling co-products, no agreed understanding on applicable methods is available. In the present study, the greenhouse gases (GHG) associated with the production of 1 kg of energy-corrected milk (ECM) at farm gate is investigated considering co-product handling. Materials and methods Two different milk production systems were used as case studies in the investigation of the effect of applying different methodologies in co-product handling: (1) outdoor grazing system in New Zealand and (2) mainly indoor housing system with a pronounced share of concentrate feed in Sweden. Since the cows produce milk, meat (when slaughtered), calves, manure, hides, etc., the environmental burden (here GHG emissions) must be distributed between these outputs (in the present study no emissions are attributed to hides specifically, or to manure which is recycled on-farm). Different methodologically approaches, (1) system expansion (two cases), (2) physical causality allocation, (3) economic allocation, (4) protein allocation and (5) mass allocation, are applied in the study. Results and discussion The results show large differences in the final CF number depending on which methodology has been used for accounting co-products. Most evident is that system expansion gives a lower CF for milk than allocation methods. System expansion resulted in 63–76% of GHG emissions attributed directly to milk, while allocation resulted in 85–98%. It is stressed that meat is an important by-product from milk production and that milk and beef production is closely interlinked and therefore needs to be considered in an integrated approach. Conclusions To obtain valid LCA/CF numbers for milk, it is crucial to account for by-products. Moreover, if CF numbers for milk need to be compared, the same allocation procedure should be applied.
Article
Purpose Calculating the carbon footprint (CF) of food is becoming increasingly important in climate change communication. To design effective CF labelling systems or reduction measures, it is necessary to understand the accuracy of the calculated CF values. This study quantified the uncertainty in the CF of wheat and of a common refined wheat-based product, pasta, for different resolutions of farm-level in-data to gain an increased understanding of the origins and magnitude of uncertainties in food CFs. Methods A ‘cradle-to-retail’ CF study was performed on Swedish pasta and wheat cultivated in the region of Skåne on mineral soils. The uncertainty was quantified, using Monte Carlo simulation, for wheat from individual farms and for the mixture of wheat used for pasta production during a year, as well as for the pasta production process. Results and discussion The mean pasta CF was 0.50 kg CO2e/kg pasta (0.31 kg CO2e/kg wheat before the milling process). The CF of wheat from one farm could not be determined more accurately than being in the range 0.22–0.56 kg CO2e/kg wheat, even though all farm-level primary data were collected. The wheat mixture CF varied much less, approximately ±10–20% from the mean (95% certainty) for different years. Reducing farm-level data collection to only the most influential parameters—yield, amount of N and regional soil conditions—increased the uncertainty range by between 6% and 19% for different years for the wheat mixture. The dominant uncertainty was in N2O emissions from soil, which was also the process that contributed most to the CF. Conclusions The variation in the wheat mix CF uncertainty range was greater between years, due to different numbers of farms being included for the different years, than between collecting all farm-level primary data or only the most influential parameters. More precise methods for assessing soil N2O emissions are needed to decrease the uncertainty significantly. Recommendations Due to the difficulties in calculating accurate values, finding other ways of differentiating between producers than calculating numerical CFs might be more fruitful and fair. When legislation requires numerical CF values, CF practitioners have little option but to continue using existing methods and data collection strategies. However, they can provide input on improvement, contribute to standardisation processes and help raise awareness and knowledge of the associated uncertainty in the data through studies like this one.
Article
Ethanol is a renewable fuel that can be produced in small farm-scale plants as well as in medium- and large-scale industrial plants for use in e.g. heavy diesel engines. The purpose of this study was to analyse whether the use of a small-scale production system reduced the environmental load in comparison to a medium- and a large-scale system. Therefore, a limited life cycle assessment (LCA), including air emissions and energy requirements, was carried out for the three plant sizes. For the small plant and with physical allocation, the global-warming potential was 31.5 g CO2-eq/MJfuel, the acidification potential was 198 mg SO2-eq/MJfuel, the eutrophication potential was 30.9 mg PO43−-eq/MJfuel, the photochemical ozone creation potential was 13.8 mg C2H4-eq/MJfuel and the energy requirement 359 kJ/MJfuel. It was shown that the differences in environmental impact and energy requirement between small-, medium- and large-scale systems were small. The longer transport distances to a certain degree outweighed the higher energy efficiency and the more efficient use of machinery and buildings in the large-scale system. The dominating production step was the cultivation, in which production of fertilisers, followed by soil emissions and tractive power, made major contributions to the environmental load. The choice of allocation method had a certain influence on the difference between the scales, whereas the influence of uncertainty in input data and of some alternative production strategies was small.
Article
Research shows that livestock account for a significant proportion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global consumption of livestock products is growing rapidly. This paper reviews the life cycle analysis (LCA) approach to quantifying these emissions and argues that, given the dynamic complexity of our food system, it offers a limited understanding of livestock's GHG impacts. It is argued that LCA's conclusions need rather to be considered within a broader conceptual framework that incorporates three key additional perspectives. The first is an understanding of the indirect second order effects of livestock production on land use change and associated CO2 emissions. The second compares the opportunity cost of using land and resources to rear animals with their use for other food or non-food purposes. The third perspective is need—the paper considers how far people need livestock products at all. These perspectives are used as lenses through which to explore both the impacts of livestock production and the mitigation approaches that are being proposed. The discussion is then broadened to consider whether it is possible to substantially reduce livestock emissions through technological measures alone, or whether reductions in livestock consumption will additionally be required. The paper argues for policy strategies that explicitly combine GHG mitigation with measures to improve food security and concludes with suggestions for further research.
Article
The aim of the present paper was to investigate the land use, environmental impact and fossil energy use when using biogas instead of natural gas in the production of nitrogen fertilisers. The biogas was assumed to be produced from anaerobic digestion of ley grass and maize. The calculations showed that 1 ha of agricultural land in south-west Sweden can produce 1.7 metric ton of nitrogen in the form of ammonium nitrate per year from ley grass, or 3.6 ton from maize. The impact on global warming, from cradle to gate, was calculated to be lower when producing nitrogen fertiliser from biomass compared with natural gas. Eutrophication and acidification potential was higher in the biomass scenarios. The greatest advantage of the biomass systems however lies in the potential to reduce agriculture's dependency on fossil fuels. In the biomass scenarios, only 2-4 MJ of primary fossil energy was required, while 35 MJ/kgN was required when utilising natural gas.
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