Sustainability metrics for agri-food supply chains

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Enhancing sustainability in food production requires knowledge about the economic, environmental and social performance of the various stages of agri-food supply chains. An integrated indicator can provide synthetized information about the extent to which food products are sustainably produced and can guide sustainability improvements. The overall objective of this thesis was to perform integrated assessments of relative sustainability performance of (stages of) agri-food supply chains using integrated indicators. To achieve the overall objective this thesis first developed a theoretical framework for benchmarking agri-food supply chains in terms of their relative sustainability performance. Two integrated indicators were proposed, i.e. the Social Profit indicator that integrates sustainability performance indicators using prices and the Technical Inefficiency indicator that uses distance functions. Next, the Social Profit indicator was illustrated for Brazilian soybean meal chains: non-genetically modified (non-GM) and genetically modified (GM) chains. Further, relative sustainability performance (economic and environmental) of specialized potato farms in Germany and the Netherlands was assessed using both the Social Profit indicator and the Technical Inefficiency indicator. Finally, an alternative approach, the Nerlovian Social Profit Inefficiency indicator, was used for the assessment of relative sustainability performance of coffee farms in Vietnam.  The results of this thesis suggests that the three proposed integrated indicators can be used in different socio-economic and environmental contexts to capture the multidimensional nature of relative agri-food supply chain sustainability. Their implementation helps to overcome some of the limitations of the single-issue and composite indicators that are commonly used in sustainability assessments such as incommensurability, subjectivity and comparability. The indicators provide information that can be used by businesses, stakeholders and policy makers to identify opportunities for relative sustainability performance improvements of agri-food supply chains. 

Keywords: Total Factor Productivity, Total Price Recovery, technical inefficiency, agri-food supply chain, externality, social profit.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Oude Lansink, Alfons, Promotor
  • van Evert, Frits, Co-promotor
  • Meuwissen, Miranda, Co-promotor
Award date27 Jun 2016
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462578012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • food supply
  • food chains
  • agro-industrial chains
  • sustainability
  • western europe
  • vietnam

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