Societal conformity of conventional and diversifying pork production systems in five European countries

K.H. de Greef*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In the long term, social acceptability is a sine qua non issue in the sustainability of production systems. A practical tool was developed and applied to assess the degree of social acceptance of pork production systems. Societal conformity was defined as the degree to which production systems meet the demands and expectations of society. The tool assesses judgments of informed professionals on nine sustainability themes: Animal health, Animal welfare, Economic sustainability, Environmental Impact, Genetic diversity, Human working conditions, Meat safety, Meat quality, and the overall term Public image. A distinction is made between stakeholders involved in the production chain ('Insiders') and those around the chain (NGO-representatives, 'Outsiders'). The tool was applied in 5 countries (D, ES, F, NL, UK), assessing the stakeholder views of the conventional pork production system and two alternative systems in each country. Insiders judged the overall sustainability of the conventional pork system about neutral, with positive values for meat safety and meat quality. Judgment of the Outsiders was generally negative. The southern Europe NGO's scored more outspoken negative that their northern colleagues. Insiders expected the public to be more negative, whereas Outsiders expected them to be more positive than themselves. Both stakeholder groups expected considerable improvements in sustainability of alternative systems, and virtually no undesirable effects of the systems changes in other sustainability themes. Outsiders were more outspoken in their views, both for the sustainability of the conventional system and for the degree of improvement of the alternative systems. Results show consistency between the specific sustainability themes and the general parameter Public Image, although the underlying mechanism of Outsiders seems to be of another nature than that of the Insiders: the data suggest that informed professionals from within the system build up their view from the various sustainability aspects, whereas those from outside are more outspoken and their overall view corresponds with several separate themes, making their view on specific aspects reasonably informative for the other themes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Consumption
Subtitle of host publicationThe Citizen, the Market and the Law
EditorsH. Röcklinsberg, P. Sandin
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9789086867844
ISBN (Print)9789086862313
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2013


  • Pig production
  • Social acceptability
  • Stakeholder judgement


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