Improvements in the life cycle approach as an environmental evaluation tool in organic farming

A. Antón, M. Núñez, J.I. Montero, P. Muñoz, C. Stanghellini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Very few studies objectively quantify environmental impact of organic farming practices. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool has proved to be an accurate, objective, and transparent tool to quantify many environmental impacts. The purpose of this paper is to disseminate the LCA methodology, demonstrate its usefulness as an environmental assessment tool for organic farming, and determine which aspects of LCA need further development to improve their relevance in organic systems. Following the stages of LCA, we discuss the main drawback for each stage: a) Goal stage: discussion of the actual function for organic agriculture; b) Inventory stage: lack of specific databases for organic agriculture c) Impact Assessment: importance of local impact categories for agriculture. We briefly summarise recent work that has been conducted addressing local impacts, but there remain some aspects that should be improved. Our recommendation is that further research should focus on: 1) better knowledge of the nutritional quality of organic food; 2) providing homogenised datasets and 3) development of characterisation factors to evaluate intensities of agricultural activity practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd IS on Organic Greenhouse Horticulture
EditorsM. Dorais, S.D. Bishop
Place of PublicationLeuven
ISBN (Print)9789462610309
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventII International Symposium on Organic Greenhouse Horticulture - Avignon, France
Duration: 28 Oct 201331 Oct 2013


ConferenceII International Symposium on Organic Greenhouse Horticulture


  • Agriculture
  • Characterisation factor
  • Databases
  • Functional unit
  • Land use
  • Pesticide toxicity
  • Water consumption


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