…and the environment?
Sustainability can be measured. Even the choice of which meat products one consumes has an effect. Certainly, one must make an effort to be more knowledgable, and producers can supply useful information to consumers to make the most responsible choices.
Indaco2 started a partnership with the Slow Food Foundation within the Narrative Label Project aimed at promoting a deeper and exhaustive information on high-quality food products.
Main objective is the assessment of lifecycle based Sustainability Indicators in order to pro- vide information on potential environmental impacts of a given production, identify possible impact mitigation-compensation measures and highlight virtuous aspects and best practices.
In particular, the pilot study focuses on production of a set of breeding farms, Slow Food Presidia. Compared to intensive conventional production, what are environmental impacts of the production chain in Presidia? Which best practices can be implemented for achieving a more sustainable production? How to highlight and communicate the best practices con- ducted by farmers of autochthonous species in relation to local landscape and natural resources?
The Life Cycle Assessment is a consolidated methodology (ISO 14040-14044:2006) for measur- ing potential impacts of production systems. The “lifecycle” refers to the all processes within the production chain “from cradle to grave”, that is from the withdrawing of raw-materials to the end of life of products. In the case of pig-breeding systems, for instance, the lifecycle includes the whole production chain, from the production of feeds, to the breeding practices, until meat treating and the management of waste and manure. The analysis also considers processes of transport and material end-life.
The Carbon Footprint
The Carbon Footprint is among the indicators calculated through the LCA. It is the estimate of greenhouse gas emissions (ISO/TS14067: 2013) generated by different processes throughout a production chain. Emissions are given in terms of CO2-equivalent (kg CO2-eq). The estimate of CO2 emission per unit of product makes light on the level of sustainability of a production chain process with respect to global-scale environmental problems, such as global warming and cli- mate change. Based on this information, farmers can improve the environmental performance of products, avoiding energy and resource loss. Moreover, some wooden and agricultural areas can compensate emissions and highlight the role of ecosystems, for example allowing for a CO2 emission-absorption balance within the farm (carbon neutrality). Besides carbon footprint, other LCA based indicators are: acidification potential, eutrophication potential, water, soil and ma- rine eco-toxicity potential, etc.
There details recorded on the narrative label can give additional important information, to allow consumers to make well- informed decisions.