Life cycle assessment is a widespread method for measuring and monitoring the environmental impacts of production processes, thereby allowing the comparison of business-as-usual with more ecological scenarios. Life cycle assessment research can support evidence-based policy making by comparing and communicating the environmental impacts of agricultural and food systems, informing about the impact of mitigating interventions and monitoring sectoral progress towards sustainable development goals. This article aims at improving the contribution of science to evidence-based policies for agricultural sustainability and food security, while facilitating further research, by delivering a content-analysis based literature review of life cycle assessment research in agricultural and food economics. Results highlight that demand-side and system-level approaches need further development, as policies need to support redesigned agricultural systems and newly conceived dietary guidelines, which combine environmental protection and health benefits, without reducing productivity. Similarly, more research effort towards consequential life cycle assessment and multidimensional assessment may benefit policy makers by considering the rebound effects associated with the large-scale implementation of impact-mitigating interventions. Promising interventions involve the promotion of waste circularization strategies, which could also improve the profitability of agriculture. For effective policy making towards agricultural sustainability and food security worldwide, countries with the greatest expected population growth and raise of urbanization rates need more attention by researchers.

Improving Policy Evidence Base for Agricultural Sustainability and Food Security: A Content Analysis of Life Cycle Assessment Research

Bartolini, Fabio
Secondo
;
2020

Abstract

Life cycle assessment is a widespread method for measuring and monitoring the environmental impacts of production processes, thereby allowing the comparison of business-as-usual with more ecological scenarios. Life cycle assessment research can support evidence-based policy making by comparing and communicating the environmental impacts of agricultural and food systems, informing about the impact of mitigating interventions and monitoring sectoral progress towards sustainable development goals. This article aims at improving the contribution of science to evidence-based policies for agricultural sustainability and food security, while facilitating further research, by delivering a content-analysis based literature review of life cycle assessment research in agricultural and food economics. Results highlight that demand-side and system-level approaches need further development, as policies need to support redesigned agricultural systems and newly conceived dietary guidelines, which combine environmental protection and health benefits, without reducing productivity. Similarly, more research effort towards consequential life cycle assessment and multidimensional assessment may benefit policy makers by considering the rebound effects associated with the large-scale implementation of impact-mitigating interventions. Promising interventions involve the promotion of waste circularization strategies, which could also improve the profitability of agriculture. For effective policy making towards agricultural sustainability and food security worldwide, countries with the greatest expected population growth and raise of urbanization rates need more attention by researchers.
Gava, Oriana; Bartolini, Fabio; Venturi, Francesca; Brunori, Gianluca; Pardossi, Alberto
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2436528
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