This paper compares the energy and environmental impacts of organic and conventional apples cultivated in the North of Italy, by applying the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology.The authors examined the supply chain of apples, including the input of raw materials and energy sources, the farming step, the post-harvest processes and the distribution of apples to the final users.The paper develops two original contributions: 1) it enhances the limited number of studies on LCA applied to apples; 2) it compares organic and conventional apples produced in lands characterized by the same climatic conditions, to evaluate which of the two products is more competitive from an energy and environmental point of view.The results showed that, despite a lower productivity, preferring organic apples versus conventional apples could help to reduce the environmental impacts for most of the examined impact categories. With a few exceptions, differences lower than 7% occur between the eco-profiles of the two examined products.A relevant share of the primary energy consumption and almost all of the examined environmental impacts are caused by the post-harvest processes and by transport to the final users, assuming that the products are distributed on local, national and international markets.Furthermore, a detailed analysis of the farming step showed that a significant share in the overall energy and environmental impacts is due to the use of fertilizers and pesticides and to diesel consumption of agricultural machines

Life cycle assessment of organic and conventional apple supply chains in the north of italy

MISTRETTA, Marina;
2017

Abstract

This paper compares the energy and environmental impacts of organic and conventional apples cultivated in the North of Italy, by applying the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology.The authors examined the supply chain of apples, including the input of raw materials and energy sources, the farming step, the post-harvest processes and the distribution of apples to the final users.The paper develops two original contributions: 1) it enhances the limited number of studies on LCA applied to apples; 2) it compares organic and conventional apples produced in lands characterized by the same climatic conditions, to evaluate which of the two products is more competitive from an energy and environmental point of view.The results showed that, despite a lower productivity, preferring organic apples versus conventional apples could help to reduce the environmental impacts for most of the examined impact categories. With a few exceptions, differences lower than 7% occur between the eco-profiles of the two examined products.A relevant share of the primary energy consumption and almost all of the examined environmental impacts are caused by the post-harvest processes and by transport to the final users, assuming that the products are distributed on local, national and international markets.Furthermore, a detailed analysis of the farming step showed that a significant share in the overall energy and environmental impacts is due to the use of fertilizers and pesticides and to diesel consumption of agricultural machines
Apples; Energy; Environmental impacts
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/6659
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