The carbon footprint of food has become important for producers worldwide as consumers and retail companies increasingly base their purchase decisions on carbon footprint labels. In this context, our objectives is to assess the carbon footprint (CF) of Brazilian yellow melon exported from the Low Jaguaribe and Açu region, including an uncertainty assessment, and to evaluate reduction potentials and improvement options. Exporting farms located in this region account for about 99 percent of Brazilian melon exports, mainly to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. To determine the CF, we followed Life Cycle Assessment, according to ISO standards (14040 and 14044). The results are expressed in kg of CO2-eq/t of exported melon. The production system encompasses processes in the Low Jaguaribe and Açu region (such as seedling, plant production, packing, and disposal of solid wastes from farms), upstream processes (including the production and transportation of inputs, such as seeds, plastics, and fertilizers), and downstream processes (melon transport). The total yellow melon CF in the reference situation is 710 kg CO2-eq/t exported melon. However, scenario results indicate that this value can be reduced by 44 percent if melon fields are located in pre-existing agricultural areas, nitrogen fertilization is reduced, and no plastic field trays are used in melon production. GHG emissions from melon transport are relatively unimportant in the total CF. These results provide melon producers with an insight into the CF of their product, and options to reduce it.
- life-cycle assessment
Brito de Figueirêdo, M. C., Kroeze, C., Potting, J., da Silva Barros, V., Sousa de Aragão, A., Sonsol Gondim, R., & de Boer, I. J. M. (2013). The carbon footprint of exported Brazilian yellow melon. Journal of Cleaner Production, 47, 404-414. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.09.015