Environmental outcomes for food systems

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1 Environmental outcomes for food systems Overview of environmental impacts Big issues and emerging issues Methods Challenges and opportunities Initiatives to be aware of, and potential partners GCI Food Systems Workshop, 6 th April, 2016 Marguerite Renouf Joe Lane Steven Kenway 1

2 Food systems = the processes that bring food to our tables USA Japan Egypt Chad Source: Peter Menzel Photography (2005) Hungry Planet Family Food Portraits 2

3 Food systems = the processes that bring food to our tables USA Japan Research interests: What are the resource exchanges between food systems and the environment? Are our food systems environmentally sustainable? Egypt What food system models are more sustainable? Chad Source: Peter Menzel Photography (2005) Hungry Planet Family Food Portraits 3

4 Product life cycle perspective on food systems

5 Life cycle impacts of food systems sugarcane example Agriculture Land use / loss of bio-diversity Water consumption (global significance) Greenhouse gas emissions Water quality impacts (nutrients, pesticides) Soil quality impacts Energy use Processing Energy use Water use (local significance) Packaging resources Food waste Distribution / retail Energy use Food waste Consumption Packaging waste Energy use Food waste Image adapted from: Renouf, M. A. (2015). Greenhouse gas abatement from sugarcane bio-energy, bio-fuels and bio-materials. In Sugarcane based bio-fuels 5 and bio-products, edited by I.M. O Hara and S.G. Mundree. John Wiley & Sons.

6 Aspects influencing environmental impacts of food systems USA Extent and composition of consumption (diet) quantity consumed protein content (meat, dairy) Origin produced locally or traded globally environmental efficiency of the source agricultural processes Japan Egypt Extent of processing and packaging Chad Food wastage Source: Peter Menzel Photography (2005) Hungry Planet Family Food Portraits 6

7 METHODS using a life cycle perspective Life cycle assessment (LCA) Bottom-up analysis of process across product life cycles Footprinting (carbon, water, etc.) A close relative of LCA.. Environmentally-extended input-output assessment (I-O) Top-down analysis of food supply chains within the whole economic system Life cycle sustainability assessment Brings together environmental, economic and social considerations 7

8 How significant are food systems impacts? Greenhouse gas emissions Eco-footprint (land) Water use Source: ACF (2007). Consuming Australia: Main Findings. [Online] This work used environmentally-extended input-output analysis using top-down economic accounts. 8

9 Which impacts are significant? Land and use MAY be most important even though we hear a lot about greenhouse gas emissions Impacts of Australian raw sugar production normalised against national totals to compare significance Source: Renouf, M. A., et al. (2010b). "Life cycle assessment of Australian sugarcane production with a focus on sugarcane growing." International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 15(9): This work used environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) 9

10 Which foods? - comparing food groups Source: Climate CoLab This work used Carbon Footprting, a close relative of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) 10

11 Where should we source our food from? Local versus global Agricultural efficiency often more important than food miles Impact of NZ dairy products consumed in Europe compared with competing European dairy products 350% GWP Acidification Eutrophication Energy use Land use Sewage treatment 300% 250% 200% 150% 100% 50% 0% Transport dairy product: truck & car UK Transport milk: truck in NZ Transport: ship Packaging Manufacture Farm production NZ Sw Ne UK NZ Sw Ne UK NZ Sw Ne UK NZ Sw Ne UK NZ Sw Ne UK Source: Claudine Basset Mens, LCA in Food Conference, Gothenburg (2007) 11

12 Is the land we grow food on important? Expanded agricultural production needs to avoid land with carbon stocks Greenhouse gas emissions of products from agricultural feedstocks showing impact of land use change Source: Renouf, M. A. (2016, in press). Greenhouse gas abatement from sugarcane bio-energy, bio-fuels and bio-materials. In Sugarcane Based Biofuels and Bioproducts, edited by I. M. O'Hara and S. G. Mundree: John Wiley & Sons 12

13 How much extra impact does processing add? Processing adds impacts but has an important role in reducing food waste and retaining nutritional value Life cycle greenhouse gas emission of different formats for supplying carrots 1.4 Global Warming Potential (kg CO 2eq per 600g serve) Processing On-farm 0 Fresh bunched Fresh peeled Frozen bag Frozen carton Canned Pouch Laminated carton Source: Ligthart, Ansems & Jetten, Eco-efficiency and nutritional aspects of different product / packaging systems 13

14 BIG ISSUES and messages to date Significance of food system impacts Agricultural phase is important Accounting for land use change Comparison across food groups / diets Food miles not always an issue Agricultural efficiencies are key 14

15 EMERGING ISSUES Upstream life cycle phases processing, distribution / retail, consumption food waste Reactive nitrogen in agriculture Water quality impacts from nutrient (N, P) and pesticide Characterising impacts related to land use Soil quality Biodiversity 15

16 CHALLENGES for research in this space Methodology challenges Handling complexity Impacts often hinge on the dynamic nature of agriculture need to call on agronomic models to reduce uncertainty Diverse range of food systems - can t always generalize solutions Need to maintain a holistic view Avoid focusing on single environmental issues in isolation Solutions need to be devised with a whole-of-system perspective Communicating (comparing) complex information Footprint results can be misleading On what basis do we compare functionally? (nutritional value) 16

17 OPPORTUNITIES for research in this space Breaking down the diversity / complexity of food systems Understanding downstream phases Prioritising eco-efficiency efforts and more sustainable food system models Understanding the nexus between food, water and energy 17

18 Initiatives to be aware of Australian Life Cycle Inventory (AusLCI) database growing LCA database for Australian agricultural processes a foundation for assessing food systems Industrial Ecology Laboratory (IeLab) ARC LIEF project Populating process LCA data into the IO framework Exploring implications of food waste (PhD project) Water-Energy-Food Nexus projects Alliance project (UQ, USQ, GU and QUT) ARC DECRA project 18

19

20 Agricultural data coverage in AusLCI 100% Estimated geographic coverage 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Turf Nursery plants Flowers Fish and seafood Goats Ducks and other poultry Chickens (for eggs) Chickens (for meat) Pigs Beef cattle Dairy Sheep Orchard fruit and nuts Grapes Mango Bananas Avocado Oilseed (tree crops) Others Melons Carrots Onion Mushrooms Capsicum Brocolli Strawberries Potato Lettuce Tomato Other oilseed Soybeans and other pulses Peanuts Lucerne (for hay and silage) Pasture (for hay and silage) Lupins Chickpea Canola Sugarcane Cotton Other cereals Triticale Oats Rice Sorghum Barley Corn/Maize Wheat Others Livestock Tree and vine crops Horticulture crops Other broadacre crops Cereal crops Source: Renouf and Fujita-Dimas, Application of LCA in Australian agriculture a review. 8 th Australian LCA Conference, Sydney. 20

21 eeio for coupled socio-$-enviro analysis Use (demand) Consumptive demand Supply Agriculture Mining Plastic Restaurants Agriculture Mining Plastic Restaurants $ $ householders Government Export TBL indicators Value added ($) employment Water Use GHG Region 1 Region 2 S1 S2 S3 Value Added S1 S2 S3 Value Added Region 1 Region 2 S1 S2 S3 Final Demand S1 S2 S3 Final Demand internal R1 transactions trade from R2 to R1 trade from R1 to R2 internal R2 transactions

22 eeio for coupled socio-$-enviro analysis water use (61% of Aus) GHG (41% of Aus) surplus generated (7% of Aus) wages paid (4% of Aus) Reutter et al (in press) Food Waste consequences: eeio as a framework for analysis

23 eeio for coupled socio-$-enviro analysis Use (demand) Consumptive demand Agriculture Mining Plastic Restaurants householders Government Export Supply Agriculture Mining Plastic Restaurants $ $ TBL indicators Value added ($) employment Water Use GHG Aus IELab improved food systems analysis Project plans ARC-LIEF project with Steven Kenway & Anthony Halog (GPEM) + UNSW, USyd, UoW Incorporate detailed agricultural data from AusLCI database Improve the data on downstream food processing Improve resolution of enviro data (e.g. water use, GHG) Incorporate impact assessment metrics (e.g. water stress) For more info on the Aus IELab, see

24 food waste - challenging the rhetoric Agriculture Storage Processing Distribution Food Providers Household Onsite: - Left in the field - Animal Feed - Compost - Energy recovery Data availability Solid waste to: - Land fill - Commercial compost - Energy recovery Liquid waste to: - Sewage Onsite: - Compost - Animal Feed Good data on total wastes Reasonable data on organic wastes Few estimates of food waste Volumes are known, but no (?) data on food product flows A few regional estimates Flows measured (in $) in IO databases Nutrition balance is possible (?)

25 eeio for coupled socio-$-enviro analysis Water Footprints through the Aus economy preliminary results Exports Domestic consumption

26 Water-Energy-Food Landscape Treating Hydro Cooling Solar Energy extraction Heating and Cooling Pumping Desal Wastewater Energy loss in wastewater (chemical an heat) Energy use influence by urban heat island effect Energy generation Energy demand of bottled water Biofuels Irrigation Understanding embodied flows (virtual) water and energy as well as interlinkages. Base slide: California Government Department of Water Resources Water-energycarbon

27 UQ has initiated an alliance across four universities targeting Water and Food Security through Energy Productivity Pilot trials CO 2 -e (GHG) / Climate Innovative Business and Governance Models Energy efficiency and GHG abatement opportunities Energy Data systems and intelligence from sensing Production systems for on-farm applications - energy and water trade offs. Food Integrated renewable energy options (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon) Farm and supply chain energy, trade-offs, and impacts Water New design, technology, and management for efficiency and low cost solutions and optimisation.

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