INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, will host LCA-FOOD 2012, the International Conference on LCA in the Agri-Food sector from 2 to 4 October 2012. This is the eighth conference in a series including Brussels (1996, 1998), Gothenburg (2001, 2007), Horsens (2003), Zürich (2008) and Bari (2010).
Objectives of the conference
The production, transformation, distribution and consumption of food and drink contribute strongly to human prosperity and health. However, the food and agriculture sector also contributes to a large part of the environmental impacts caused by human activities. Because these impacts, in particular climate change and biodiversity loss, need to be reduced urgently, a shift towards sustainable food systems is essential. Over the last two decades the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology has been developed and applied in the agriculture and food sectors to quantify environmental impacts and assist decision making. In recent years, LCA in the agri-food sector has developed rapidly, in particular for sustainability assessments of agricultural systems and their products, and for guiding consumers toward more sustainable food-consumption patterns (e.g., via eco-labelling).
LCA Food 2012 will serve as a global forum in which to share recent developments in LCA methodology, databases and tools, as well as applications of LCA to food-production systems and food-consumption patterns. Particular focus will be placed on the following topics:
• Impact assessment, especially regarding biodiversity, land use, soil quality, water use, toxicity (pesticides, pharmaceuticals), and spatial differentiation
• System definition, allocation, functional unit, attributional and consequential LCA
• Quantification and reduction of uncertainty
• Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis (inclusion of social/economic aspects)
• Ecodesign of agricultural and food systems
• Annual and perennial crops, terrestrial and aquatic animal production
• Eco-labelling, communication, consumer behaviour
• Food consumption patterns and diets
• Trade-offs between food quality and impacts
• Assessing farming systems at the territory/regional scale