, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 1247-1258
Date: 11 Apr 2012

Life Cycle Assessment and Carbon Footprint in the Wine Supply-Chain

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Global warming represents one of the most critical internationally perceived environmental issues. The growing, and increasingly global, wine sector is one of the industries which is under increasing pressure to adopt approaches for environmental assessment and reporting of product-related greenhouse gas emissions. The International Organization for Vine and Wine has recently recognized the need to develop a standard and objective methodology and a related tool for calculating carbon footprint (CF). This study applied this tool to a wine previously analyzed using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The objective was to test the tool as regards both its potential and possible limitations, and thus to assess its suitability as a standard tool. Despite the tool’s user-friendliness, a number of limitations were noted including the lack of accurate baseline data, a partial system boundary and the impossibility of dealing with the multi-functionality issue. When the CF and LCA results are compared in absolute terms, large discrepancies become obvious due to a number of different assumptions, as well as the modeling framework adopted. Nonetheless, in relative terms the results seem to be quite consistent. However, a critical limitation of the CF methodology was its focus on a single issue, which can lead to burden shifting. In conclusion, the study confirmed the need for both further improvement and adaptation to additional contexts and further studies to validate the use of this tool in different companies.