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Symposium 102 - Making Life Cycle Assessment Meaningful for Producers, Suppliers, and Consumers
When: Tuesday, 7/14/2015, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Description: Food technologists can play a key role in the looming global challenge to feed 9 billion people on the planet by 2050. Life cycle assessment (LCA) can help to assess potentials for increased efficiencies and measure progress toward realizing a sustainable food system. Food LCAs can take different perspectives and may be conducted to answer different questions – from the analysis of a single food product, to a broad dietary pattern – and this broad range will be discussed.
Several factors are driving a growing interest in understanding environmental impacts and their economic implications. Consumers are more interested in the environmental effects of their decisions, and producers and retailers look to respond to these customers. Furthermore, businesses are beginning to proactively plan for supply chain stability, and prepare for the possibility of regulation (e.g., carbon).
This session brings together three U.S.-based researchers in the field of LCA, Martin Heller, Andrew Henderson, and Alissa Kendall, each of whom brings a distinct area of expertise. These speakers will define LCA, review its uses for the agri-food sector to date, and highlight remaining challenges, including balancing environmental assessment with nutritional health outcomes and ever-present data gaps.
The case studies described highlight measurements and trade-offs while balancing dietary and environmental needs. These case studies include LCAs of California agriculture including irrigated crops such as almonds, rice, and tomatoes. LCAs also help to understand environmental impacts linking land use to diets and nutrition, as illustrated by an LCA of dairy and the overall US diet.
How Can LCAs Help Measure and Set Goals for the Future of Food - Dr. Marty Heller
11:00 - 11:25 AM