congresos y reuniones científicas
Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Food and Beverage sector of Argentina: Hotspots Analysis
Conferencia; 13 International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Foods; 2022
Institución organizadora:
Rationale and objective The 12 SDG is to ensure sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns by decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles (UNEP, 2015). In order to help countries to identify hotspot areas and to set policies for achieving that goal, the Life Cycle Initiative commissioned the Hotspots Analysis Tool for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP-HAT), together with the One Planet Network and the International Resource Panel. The pilot analysis held in Argentina delivered that one of the most vulnerable sectors related to SCP is the Food and Beverage (F&B), which plays a key role in the economic development of the country, through the generation of added value, tax recovery, employment and foreign trade. This prompted the development of an in-depth study to find the critical aspects where Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) could help to improve the consumption and production pattern of this particular sector. The project?s aim was to identify: 1) what are the main hotspots in the different productive chains of the F&B sector in Argentina; 2) what are the best options for improving the environmental impacts detected; and 3) which factors may hinder the implementation of the identified improvement measures.Approach and methodology To find the answers to these questions, information about 27 productive chains was used, in addition to the main packaging materials used. Since primary products from the agricultural, and livestock sectors are transformed through industrial processes into food and beverages, all stages of the life cycle of the production chains involved must be considered.The methodology was structured as follows: 1) Compilation of LCA studies in the Argentinian F&B sector; 2) Identification of an initial set of hotspots: the dominant impact categories, the most significant life cycle stages, and the sources of impacts processes and/or substances were identified; 3) Validation of the initial set of identified Hotspots through consultations with stakeholders; 4) Refining the LCA information by deepening some existing LCA studies, and developing new ones; 5) Identification of Hotspots, improvement opportunities, barriers, and policy recommendations in the broad set of F&B datasets; 6) Final stakeholder validation: six sector-specific workshops were held, presenting the enhanced results, and collecting their opinions and suggestions.For the LCA calculations, whenever possible, direct information from producers was considered, complemented with secondary data obtained from life cycle databases, mainly Ecoinvent 3.5 and World Food LCA Database 3.5. Data gaps were filled relying on peer-reviewed publications, commercial catalogs, and reports from government agencies and private sector. SimaPro® was used for LCA calculations. All the impact categories in the CML-baseline methodology were analyzed with an emphasis on Global Warming Potential (GWP). Main results and discussion34 F&B products and packaging materials were assessed thanks to the generous participation of professionals from different institutions. Also, dozens of commonly used inputs to the F&B sector were re-contextualized to fit Argentinian conditions. Considering the GWP contribution of the analyzed product chains, including both the impact produced per unit of product and their total annual production, the main contributors are beef, pork, vegetable oils, dairy products, wine, and sugar. The most recurrent hotspots identified are:●primary production: production and application of fertilizers (except for meat production),●processing and manufacture: use of fossil energy/electricity,●distribution: internal transportation using fossil fuels,●consumption: waste and food losses,●end of life: logistics and poorly recycled materials.Some of the most recurrent policy recommendations derived from the study are: to promote soft loans, credit lines or tax incentives for the incorporation of precision agriculture technologies; to support capacity building actions to reduce the consumption of traditional fertilizers; to continue with the promotion of biofuel production and use; to foster the implementation of sectoral energy-efficiency programs; to promote public campaigns to encourage change in consumption habits; to stimulate the adoption of circular economy strategies in the sectors involved. Also, a first estimation of food loss and waste (FL&W) and its related climate change potential is performed for the considered products, using waste loss percentages estimated for Argentina (León et al., 2014). Results show that meat, vegetable oils and dairy products are the biggest contributors in terms of GWP in Argentina.ConclusionThe identification of hotspots in the F&B sector in Argentina was performed during a highly data-intensive short-term project. This constitutes the most extensive compilation and analysis that has been carried out in the country to date for hotspots identification, which may trigger new studies that could improve the results obtained and expand the list of products analyzed. More research is needed, covering other regions and production systems, in order to obtain a more representative picture of the impact associated with the Argentinian F&B sector. The results presented in this study can be helpful for the definition of policies by government bodies and for establishing priorities on research activities by scientific and technological institutions.