Developing Life Cycle Inventory Data for Science-Based
Strawberry Production Sustainability Metrics
The project’s purpose is to develop “meaningful and constructive metrics for strawberry production sustainability.” Industries involved in food and agricultural are increasingly focusing on the sustainability of their operations, while governments and trade organizations are beginning to regulate commerce using environmental regulations. Organizations are beginning to use sustainability metrics for management decisions and trade is beginning to be regulated using sustainability metrics like “greenhouse gas footprint” or “water footprint” of products. However, it is difficult to “implement meaningful and constructive” sustainability metrics without the data upon which to base and validate the metrics. Robust, peer-reviewed data that support meaningful and constructive metrics do not yet exist for strawberries. The focus of this project is to 1) establish and validate the life-cycle inventory (LCI) data and life-cycle assessment results necessary to develop meaningful and constructive sustainability metrics and 2) develop sustainability metrics for United States strawberry production. These data and metrics will be peer-reviewed as part of this project and made available to the public and industry stakeholders for implementation. The focus of this project is to 1) develop and validate the life-cycle inventory (LCI) data and life-cycle assessment results necessary to develop meaningful and constructive sustainability metrics and 2) suggest sustainability metrics for United States strawberry production.
data and metrics will be peer-reviewed as part of this
project and made available to the public and industry
stakeholders for implementation.
Oregon State University (OSU) will collaborate with the United States Department of Agriculture-National Agricultural Library (USDA-NAL) to develop peer-reviewed LCI data and life-cycle assessment (LCA) results for strawberry production, which will yield validated sustainability metrics. Technical oversight will be provided by a Project Advisory Group comprised of strawberry production and life-cycle assessment experts from the California Strawberry Commission, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Washington.
summarize, overall conclusions from this project are:
1. The objective of the project (to use modified enterprise budget sheets for LCA) was achieved. However, the approach was sensitive to input data and thus there was wide variation due to user inputs. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that standardized enterprise budget sheets, and standardized data collection methods, be utilized to reduce the diversity in the user input.
2. Strawberry production is significantly variable across geographical regions and reliable LCAs for strawberry production can be performed only using datasets specific to a particular location.
3. Additional developments through incorporation of characterization factors into existing impact assessment methods is necessary to perform objective LCIA for agricultural commodities.
4. Strawberry production in California had the lowest environmental impacts while strawberry production in Florida had the highest environmental impacts due to high consumption of agricultural chemicals. These results also reflect the quality/limitations of the underlying data used for the LCA study.
5. Strawberry yield is the determining factor in the LCA analysis therefore any strategy to increase strawberry yields without increasing energy intensive inputs such as plastic mulch, fuels and fertilizers would reduce the intensity of environmental impacts.
6. Three metrics for strawberry production that could be used for simple comparative assessment of different methods were proposed and implemented.
Note: Links will be made active as the content will become available.
1. Executive Summary
2. Final Report
3. OpenLCA files for the LCA
4. LCA Extended Enterprise Budget tool
Acknowledgement: We are grateful to National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative, University of Arkansas and Walmart Foundation for the support to this project.
- 1. United States Department of Agriculture-National Agricultural Library
- 2. University of Washington
- 3. Pennsylvania State University
- 4. California Strawberry Commission
1. Tabatabaie, S.M.H. and Murthy, G.S. 2015. Life cycle assessment of strawberry production in the US. J. Cleaner Prod. (Submitted).
2. Arbuckle, P., Kahn, E., Loneman,A., McCarthy, S., Tabatabaie, S.M.H. and Murthy, G.S. 2014. Unit process data collection for specialty crop production. Proceedings of 9th international conference on life cycle assessment in the Agri-Food sector (LCA Food 2014). San Francisco, CA.
3. Tabatabaie, S.M.H. and Murthy, G.S. 2015. Developing life cycle inventory data for science-based strawberry production sustainability metrics. ASABE Abstract No. 152188895. ASABE, St. MI.
4. Tabatabaie, S.M.H., Arbuckle, P., Kahn, E., Loneman, A., McCarthy, S. and Murthy, G.S. 2014. Life cycle assessment of strawberry in the US. ASABE Abstract No. 141906714. ASABE, St. MI.
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