Environmental Management

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 707–724 | Cite as

Resource Consumption and Environmental Impacts of the Agrofood Sector: Life Cycle Assessment of Italian Citrus-Based Products

  • Marco Beccali
  • Maurizio CelluraEmail author
  • Maria Iudicello
  • Marina MistrettaEmail author


Food production and consumption cause significant environmental burdens during the product life cycles. As a result of intensive development and the changing social attitudes and behaviors in the last century, the agrofood sector is the highest resource consumer after housing in the EU. This paper is part of an effort to estimate environmental impacts associated with life cycles of the agrofood chain, such as primary energy consumption, water exploitation, and global warming. Life cycle assessment is used to investigate the production of the following citrus-based products in Italy: essential oil, natural juice, and concentrated juice from oranges and lemons. The related process flowcharts, the relevant mass and energy flows, and the key environmental issues are identified for each product. This paper represents one of the first studies on the environmental impacts from cradle to gate for citrus products in order to suggest feasible strategies and actions to improve their environmental performance.


Agrofood Citrus Energy Juice Life cycle assessment Resource depletion Water 



This paper is a result of the research project A Study of Energy and Environmental Improvement of the Sicilian Agro-food Sector, financed by the Sicilian ARPA (Regional Agency for Environmental Protection). The authors wish to thank all the anonymous reviewers for their significant suggestions and criticisms of the manuscript.


  1. ANPA (Italian Agency for Environment Protection) (2001, July) Rules for environmental product declaration. ANPA, Rome (in Italian)Google Scholar
  2. Ardente F, Beccali G, Cellura M, Marvuglia A (2006) POEMS: a case study of an italian wine-producing firm. Environmental Management 38(3):350–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ardente F, Beccali M, Cellura M, Mistretta M (2008) Building energy performance: a LCA case study of kenaf-fibres insulation board. Energy and Buildings 40(1):1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Assessorato Agricoltura e Foreste (2001, January) Regional decree. Piano di sviluppo Rurale—Normale Buona Pratica Agricola. Assessorato Agricoltura e Foreste, Catanzaro, January 24 (in Italian)Google Scholar
  5. Boustead Consulting Ltd. (2001) Boustead model, Black Cottage, UK. Environmental Database, ver. 4.4. Boustead Consulting Ltd., West Sussex, UKGoogle Scholar
  6. Bringezu S, Behrensmeier R (1998) Material flow accounts indicating environmental pressure from economic sectors. Environmental accounting in theory and practice 13. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  7. Brower M, Leon W (1999) Practical advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists. In: The consumers guide to effective environmental choices. Three Rivers Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Carlsson-Kanayma A (1998) Climate change and dietary choices: how can emissions of greenhouse gases from food consumption be reduced. Food Policy 23(3–4):277–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carlsson-Kanyama A, Ekstrom MP, Shanahan H (2003) Food and life cycle energy inputs: consequences of diet and ways to increase efficiency. Ecological Economics 44(2–3):293–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cederberg C, Mattsson B (2000) Life cycle assessment of milk production. A comparison of conventional and organic farming. Journal of Cleaner Production 8(1):49–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapman H (2006) WRAMS, sustainable water recycling. Desalination 188(1–3):105–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chinkin LR, Ryan PA, Coe DL (2003) Recommended improvements to the cmu ammonia emission inventory model for use by LADCO. Revised final report, March 26Google Scholar
  13. CORERAS (Consorzio Regionale per la Ricerca Applicata e la Sperimentazione) (2006) La filiera agrumicola in Sicilia. Elaborazione dati ISTAT e Assessorato Agricoltura e foreste della Regione Sicilia. CORERAS, Palermo (in Italian)Google Scholar
  14. D’Amico M, Pecorino P (2001) An analysis on the quality evaluation of fresh organic orange in Italy. International Symposium on Organic Agricolture, Agadir, Morocco, October 7–10Google Scholar
  15. De Fraiture C, Molden D, Amarasinghe U, Makin I (2001) PODIUM, projecting water supply and demand for food production in 2025. International Water Institute 26(11–12):869–876Google Scholar
  16. Ecoinvent Centre (2008) Ecoinvent data v2.0. Swiss Centre for Life Cycle InventoryGoogle Scholar
  17. EEA (European Environmental Agency) (2007) Technical Report No 7. Annual European Community greenhouse gas inventory report 2007. Submission to the UNFCCC Secretariat, Version 27, May 2007Google Scholar
  18. ENAMA (Ente Nazionale per la Meccanizzazione Agricola) (2005) Prontuario dei consumi di carburante per l’impiego agevolato in agricoltura. Available at: (in Italian)
  19. ENEA (Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie e l’Ambiente) (2006) Report on energy and environment 2006. Part 2. February. ENEA, Rome (in Italian language)Google Scholar
  20. European Commission (2006) Documentation and quality requirements of the European platform on life cycle assessment for LCI data sets of research projects. v. 1.0.1. European Platform on LCA, December 22Google Scholar
  21. European Commission (2007) Energy balance—data 2004–2005. Environment and Energy—EurostatGoogle Scholar
  22. Goebes MD, Strader R, Davidson C (2003) An ammonia emission inventory for fertilizer application in the United States. Atmospheric Environment 37(18):2539–2550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guinée JB (final ed), Gorree M, Heijungs R, Huppes G, Kleijn R, Oers L, van Wegener L, Sleeswijk A, Suh S, Udo de Haes HA, de Bruijn JA, van Duin R, Huijbregts MAJ (eds) (2001) Life cycle assessment: an operational guide to the ISO standards. CML, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands. Parts available at:
  24. Houghton JT, Ding Y, Griggs DJ, Noguer M, van der Linden PJ, Maskell Dai D, Johnson CA (2001) Climate change 2001: the scientific basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the third assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  25. ISO 9001 (2000) Quality management systems—requirements. International Organization for Standardization, MilanGoogle Scholar
  26. ISO 14040 (2006, October) Environmental management: life cycle assessment. Principles and framework. International Organization for Standardization, MilanGoogle Scholar
  27. ISO 14044 (2006, October) Environmental management: life cycle assessment. Requirements and guidelines. International Organization for Standardization, MilanGoogle Scholar
  28. Kramer KJ, Moll HC, Nonhebel S, Wilting HC (1999) Greenhouse gas emissions related to Dutch food consumption. Energy Policy 27:203–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lenzen M, Foran B (2001) An input-output analysis of Australian water usage. Water Policy 27:321–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mintcheva V (2005) Indicators for environmental policy integration in the food supply chain (the case of the tomato ketchup supply chain and the integrated product policy). Journal of Cleaner Production 13(7):717–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. MSR (Swedish Environmental Management Council) (2000) Requirements for EPD, an application of ISO 14025 type III environmental declarations. MSR1999:2. MSR, Stockholm, March 27Google Scholar
  32. MSR (Swedish Environmental Management Council) (2006) Product category rules (PCR) for preparing an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for milk. MSR, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  33. Oenema O, Roest CWJ (1998) Nitrogen and phosphorus losses from agriculture into surface water: effects of policies and measures in the Netherlands. Water Science and Technology 37(2):19–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Oenema O, Boers PCM, van Eerdt MM, Fraters B, van der Meer HG, Roest CWJ, Schröder JJ (1998) Leaching of nitrate from agriculture to groundwater: the effect of policies and measures in the Netherlands. Environmental Pollution 102(1):471–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Öko-Institut (Institut für angewandte Ökologie [Institute for Applied Ecology]) (2006) Global Emission Model for Integrated Systems (GEMIS), version 4.3. German environmental databaseGoogle Scholar
  36. PRè-Product Ecology Consultants (2006) SimaPro7. Environmental databaseGoogle Scholar
  37. Scuderi A, Sturiale C (2005) Alcune tendenze tecnico-economiche del settore agrumario italiano. Informatore Agrario 3:29–32 (in Italian)Google Scholar
  38. Scuderi A, Signorello M, Sturiale L (1999) Analisi economico-comparativa dell’arancicoltura biologica e convenzionale in Sicilia. Tecnica Agricola Nos. 2–3 (in Italian)Google Scholar
  39. Stokes J, Arpad H (2006) Life cycle energy assessment of alternative water supply systems. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 11(5):335–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. UNEP (2002) Agri-food and the environment. Agri-food life-cycle 2001. United Nations Enviroment Programme, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. van Weenen JC (1995) Towards sustainable product development. Journal of Cleaner Production 3:95–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vringer K, Blok K (1995) The direct and indirect energy requirements of households in The Netherlands. Energy Policy 23(10):893–910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wagner HJ, Pick E (2004) Energy yield ratio and cumulative energy demand for wind energy converters. Energy 29(12–15):2289–2295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Weidema B, Cappellaro F, Carlson R, Notten P, Pålsson AC, Patyk A, Regalini E, Sacchetto F, Scalbi S (2004) CASCADE. Procedural guideline for collection, treatment, and quality documentation of LCA data. ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies Energy and Environment), RomeGoogle Scholar
  45. Wilhite H, Nakagami H, Masuda T, Yamaga Y, Haneda H (1996) A cross-cultural analysis of household energy use behaviour in Japan and Norway. Energy Policy 24(9):775–803CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Ricerche Energetiche e Ambientali (DREAM)Università di PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Arte, Scienza e Tecnica del Costruire (DASTEC)Università Mediterranea di Reggio CalabriaReggio CalabriaItaly

Personalised recommendations