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Title: Life cycle assessment as a tool to integrate environmental indicators in food products: a chocolate LCA case study

Authors: Enrica Vesce; Germana Olivieri; Maria Beatrice Pairotti; Annalisa Romani; Riccardo Beltramo

Addresses: Dipartimento di Management, Università degli Studi di Torino, Corso Unione Sovietica 218 bis, Torino 10134, Italy ' LCA – lab s.r.l., presso ENEA, Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l'energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile, via Martiri di Monte Sole 4, Bologna 40129, Italy ' Dipartimento di Management, Università degli Studi di Torino, Corso Unione Sovietica 218 bis, Torino 10134, Italy ' Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni 'G. Parenti' (DiSIA), Università di Firenze, Polo Scientifcio e Tecnologico, via Ugo Schiff 6, Sesto Fiorentino (FI) 50019, Italy ' Dipartimento di Management, Università degli Studi di Torino, Corso Unione Sovietica 218 bis, Torino 10134, Italy

Abstract: Environmental indicators help to understand impacts and pollution issues. In the food production field, there is a need for an indicator (index) that provides the right information to the decision-maker regarding improvements and that is useful for making comparisons among companies. Among the research methodologies for establishing thresholds and assigning scores, the life-cycle assessment (LCA) approach was selected. The LCA was applied to chocolate production in an Italian medium-sized enterprise in the Piedmont region. Results have been used as a starting point to identify the critical environmental aspects of the 'gate-to-gate' life-cycle system, evaluating them like scores to compare other local chocolate production. The LCA case study shows that the most significant environmental aspects are energy consumption, depletion of non-renewable resources, and climate change. Some of the primary unavailable data for the life-cycle inventory phase and the need to adopt the same initial hypotheses to carry out comparative studies are the main limitations of the LCA application.

Keywords: environmental indicators; sustainability; LCA; lifecycle assessment; environmental assessment; sustainable development; food products; chocolate production; Italy; case study; environmental impact; energy consumption; resource depletion; non-renewable resources; climate change.

DOI: 10.1504/IJENVH.2016.077660

International Journal of Environment and Health, 2016 Vol.8 No.1, pp.21 - 37

Available online: 12 Jul 2016 *

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