The objective of this study was to review and summarize existing literature regarding the environmental impacts of a variety of foods. The literature is focused on environmental life cycle analyses of foods. This information may be helpful to producers and purchasers working to reduce environmental impacts of foods.
How was the Project Started?
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) conceived the project with input from a wide stakeholder group to understand the life cycle impacts of food and identify areas where programmatic attention could be focused. This project also provided a case study into how the structured literature review approach of Product Environmental Footprints (PEF) can be applied to improve understanding and engage industry actors in the learning process.
When was the Project Started?
When was the Project Completed, or is it Ongoing?
What are the Results to Date?
Nine reports with standalone executive summaries were released in mid-2017. They include seven food products (tomatoes, wine, pork, beer, coffee, citrus, and land-based aquaculture) and two cross-cutting topics (packaging and transportation).
What are the Resources Needed, including Time, Cost, Etc.?
The primary researcher was from the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems. DEQ also contributed two SMEs. The project budget was ~$98,000.
These reports were widely distributed to industry, academia, and governments. The feedback has been positive and has resulted in additional follow up projects and technical assistance requests from industry seeking guidance for reducing environmental impacts and/or making appropriate business decisions. The screening Life Cycle Assessment for kegs was a direct result of industry reading the reports from this project (see Keg Comparison description).
- Minal Mistry
- Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality
- Business Initiatives Lead