The economic, environmental and social performance of European certified food

Valentin Bellassen*, Marion Drut, Mohamed Hilal, Antonio Bodini, Michele Donati, Matthieu Duboys de Labarre, Jelena Filipović, Lisa Gauvrit, José M. Gil, Viet Hoang, Agata Malak-Rawlikowska, Konstadinos Mattas, Sylvette Monier-Dilhan, Paul Muller, Orachos Napasintuwong, Jack Peerlings, Thomas Poméon, Marina Tomić Maksan, Áron Török, Mario VenezianiGunnar Vittersø, Filippo Arfini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


To identify whether EU certified food – here organic and geographical indications – is more sustainable than a conventional reference, we developed 25 indicators covering the three sustainability pillars. Original data was collected on 52 products at farm, processing and retail levels, allowing the estimation of circa 2000 indicator values. Most strikingly, we show that, in our sample, certified food outperforms its non-certified reference on most economic and social indicators. On major environmental indicators – carbon and water footprint – their performance is similar. Although certified food is 61% more expensive, the extra-performance per euro is similar to classical policy interventions to improve diet sustainability such as subsidies or taxes. Cumulatively, our findings legitimate the recent initiatives by standards to cover broader sustainability aspects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107244
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Certified Food
  • Geographical Indications
  • Organic Farming
  • Performance
  • Sustainability


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  • Sustainability performance of certified and non-certified food

    Bellassen, V. (Creator), Arfini, F. (Creator), Antonioli, F. (Creator), Bodini, A. (Creator), Boehm, M. (Creator), Brečić, R. (Creator), Chiussi, S. (Creator), Csillag, P. (Creator), Donati, M. (Creator), Dries, L. (Creator), Drut, M. (Creator), de Labarre, M. D. (Creator), Ferrer Pérez, H. (Creator), Filipović, J. (Creator), Gauvrit, L. (Creator), Gil, J. M. (Creator), Gorton, M. (Creator), Hoàng, V. (Creator), Hilal, M. (Creator), Knutsen Steinnes, K. (Creator), Lilavanichakul, A. (Creator), Malak-Rawlikowska, A. (Creator), Majewski, E. (Creator), Monier-Dilhan, S. (Creator), Muller, P. (Creator), Napasintuwong, O. (Creator), Nikolaou, K. (Creator), Nguyen, M. (Creator), Quynh, A. N. (Creator), Papadopoulos, I. (Creator), Peerlings, J. (Creator), Poméon, T. (Creator), Tocco, B. (Creator), Török, A. (Creator), Ristic, B. (Creator), Schaer, B. (Creator), Stojanovic, Z. (Creator), Tomić Maksan, M. (Creator), Veneziani, M. (Creator) & Vittersø, G. (Creator), 31 Mar 2021


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