Background, Aim and Scope The usual route for improvement of agricultural practice towards sustainability runs via labelling schemes for products or farm practices. In most approaches requirements are set in absolute terms, disregarding the variation in environmental performance of farms. Another approach for promoting sustainable farming concerns the concept of benchmarking, which takes into account competition among farmers. The individual agricultural performance is characterized by quantitative criteria and compared with scores of other relevant farms. Methods Therefore, a pilot study has been conducted in the Netherlands concerning benchmarking among arable farmers in the Internet involving crop protection. A voluntary Dutch benchmark initiative in the Internet is described including farmers' perception regarding the tool. Results The results show that the benchmark tool in the Internet allows farmers to compare their environmental and economic performance anonymously and securely in a large-scale open-access environment. The pilot group of farmers responded positively to the instrument. An important factor in success is the ease and speed with which data can be entered into the benchmark tool. Conclusions A benchmark tool for comparing the environmental performance among farmers can form the basis for agreements between farmers and their costumers. An application involving food industry and retailers is discussed.
|Journal||The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|