Advertisement

The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment

, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 1450–1464 | Cite as

Carbon footprint of a Cavendish banana supply chain

  • Erik SvanesEmail author
  • Anna K. S. Aronsson
CARBON FOOTPRINTING

Abstract

Purpose

Bananas are one of the highest selling fruits worldwide, and for several countries, bananas are an important export commodity. However, very little is known about banana’s contribution to global warming. The aims of this work were to study the greenhouse gas emissions of bananas from cradle to retail and cradle to grave and to assess the potential of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along the value chain.

Methods

Carbon footprint methodology based on ISO-DIS 14067 was used to assess GHG emissions from 1 kg of bananas produced at two plantations in Costa Rica including transport by cargo ship to Norway. Several methodological issues are not clearly addressed in ISO 14067 or the LCA standards 14040 and ISO 14044 underpinning 14067. Examples are allocation, allocation in recycling, representativity and system borders. Methodological choices in this study have been made based on other standards, such as the GHG Protocol Products Standard.

Results and discussion

The results indicate that bananas had a carbon footprint (CF) on the same level as other tropical fruits and that the contribution from the primary production stage was low. However, the methodology used in this study and the other comparative studies was not necessarily identical; hence, no definitive conclusions can be drawn. Overseas transport and primary production were the main contributors to the total GHG emissions. Including the consumer stage resulted in a 34 % rise in CF, mainly due to high wastage. The main potential reductions of GHG emissions were identified at the primary production, within the overseas transport stage and at the consumer.

Conclusions

The carbon footprint of bananas from cradle to retail was 1.37 kg CO2 per kilogram banana. GHG emissions from transport and primary production could be significantly reduced, which could theoretically give a reduction of as much as 44 % of the total cradle-to-retail CF. The methodology was important for the end result. The choice of system boundaries gives very different results depending on which life cycle stages and which unit processes are included. Allocation issues were also important, both in recycling and in other processes such as transport and storage. The main uncertainties of the CF result are connected to N2O emissions from agriculture, methane emissions from landfills, use of secondary data and variability in the primary production data. Thus, there is a need for an internationally agreed calculation method for bananas and other food products if CFs are to be used for comparative purposes.

Keywords

Bananas Carbon footprint Fruit ISO 14067 PCR 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Norwegian Research Council and the companies BAMA, Nortura, Tine, Norgesgruppen and Coop for financial support and supplying the necessary data for the assessments. We would also like to thank the Dole Food Company for kind cooperation and colleagues at SIK and Ostfold Research for their support.

References

  1. Adler PR, Del Grosso SJ, Parton WJ (2007) Life cycle assessment of net greenhouse-gas flux for bioenergy cropping systems. Ecol Appl 17:675–691CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berners-Lee M (2010) How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything. Profile Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Bessou C, Basset-Mens C, Tran T, Benoist A (2013) LCA applied to perennial cropping systems: a review focused on the farm stage. Int J Life Cycle Assess 18(2):340–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BSI (2011) PAS 2050. Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services. British Standard Ltd., LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. BSI (2012) PAS 2050-1:2012. Assessment of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from horticultural products. http://shop.bsigroup.com/en/forms/PASs/PAS-2050-1/
  6. Cellura M, Ardente F, Longo S (2012) From the LCA of food products to the environmental assessment of protected crops districts: a case-study in the south of Italy. J Environ Manage 93:194–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cerutti A, Bruun S, Beccaro GL, Bounous G (2011) A review of studies applying environmental impact assessment methods on fruit production systems. J Environ Manage 92:2277–2286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davies J, Wallman M, Sund V, Emanuelsson A, Cederberg C, Sonesson U (2011) Emissions of greenhouse gases from production of horticultural products. Analysis of 17 products cultivated in Sweden. Report SR 828. SIK (Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology), June 2011Google Scholar
  9. EIPRO (Environmental Impact of Products) (2006) Analysis of the life cycle environmental impacts related to the total final consumption of the EU 25. European Commission Technical Report EUR 22284Google Scholar
  10. Evans E, Ballen F (2010) Banana market. Report FE901, University of Florida, IFAS ExtensionGoogle Scholar
  11. FAOSTAT (2009) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/meeting/018/k6853e.pdf
  12. FAOSTAT (2012) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. FAOSTAT databaseGoogle Scholar
  13. Finkbeiner M (2009) Carbon footprinting—opportunities and threats. Int J Life Cycle Assess 14:91–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Garnett T (2011) Where are the best opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the food system (including the food chain)? Food Policy, Supplement 1:S23–S32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Graefe S, Dufor D, Giraldo A, Muños LA, Mora P, Solís H, Garcés H, Gonzales A (2011) Energy and carbon footprints of ethanol production using banana and cooking banana discard: a case study from Costa Rica. J Biomass Bioenerg 35:2640–2649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hospido A, Milà i Canals L, McLaren S, Truninger M, Edwards-Jones G, Clift R (2009) The role of seasonality in lettuce consumption: a case study of environmental and social aspects. Int J Life Cycle Assess 14(5):381–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) (2006a) IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories, chapter 11. N2O emissions from managed soils, and CO2 emissions from lime and urea applicationGoogle Scholar
  18. IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) (2006b) IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories, chapter 3. LUCF sector good practice guidanceGoogle Scholar
  19. IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) (2006c) IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories, Chapter 5. WasteGoogle Scholar
  20. International EPD System (2009) Product category rules for vegetables. http://www.environdec.com/en/Product-Category-Rules/Detail/?Pcr=8235
  21. ISO (2012) ISO 14067: carbon footprint of products—requirements and guidelines for quantification and communication. ISO/DIS 14067 (E) official version, 18th January 2012, Document N 371. International Standards Organisation, Geneva (electronic source)Google Scholar
  22. ISO (2006a) ISO 14040:2006. Environmental management—life cycle assessment—principles and framework. International Standards Organisation, Geneva (electronic resource)Google Scholar
  23. ISO (2006b) ISO 14044:2006. Environmental management—life cycle assessment—requirements and guidelines. International Organization for Standards, Geneva (electronic resource)Google Scholar
  24. Lescot T (2012) Carbon footprint analysis in banana production. Second Conference of the World Banana Forum, Guayaquil, Ecuador, 28–29 February 2012Google Scholar
  25. Luske B (2010) Comprehensive carbon footprint assessment. Dole bananas. Soil and More International. http://www.dolecrs.com/performance/carbon-footprint-assessment
  26. Lillywhite R, Chandler D, Grant W, Lewis K, Firth C, Schmutz U, Halpin D (2007) Environmental footprint and sustainability of horticulture (including potatoes)—a comparison with other agricultural sectors. http://randd.defra.gov.uk/
  27. Machado SL, Carvalho MF, Gourc J-P, Vilar OM, do Nascimento JCF (2009) Methane generation in tropical landfills: simplified methods and field results J. Waste Manage 29:153–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Milà i Canals L, Cowell SJ, Sim S, Basson L (2007) Comparing domestic versus imported apples: a focus on energy use. Environ Sci Pollut Res 14:338–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Milà i Canals L, Muñoz I, Hospido A, Plassmann K, McLaren S (2008) Life cycle assessment (LCA) of domestic vs. imported vegetables. Case studies on broccoli, salad crops and green beans. CES working paper 01/08, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford (Surrey) GU2 7XH, UKGoogle Scholar
  30. Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía (2007) Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climático. Inventario e informe de gases con efecto invernadero (GEI). Programa piloto para empresas y organizaciones, version 2, 8 ppGoogle Scholar
  31. Mordini M, Nemecek T, Gaillard G (2009) Carbon & water footprint of oranges and strawberries. A literature review. Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART. http://www.agroscope.admin.ch/data/publikationen/1296211551_Mordini_M_SAI_Fruit_Report_final.pdf
  32. Muñoz I, Milà i Canals L, Clift R (2008) Consider a spherical man. J Ind Ecol 12(4):521–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Robertson GP, Paul EA, Harwood RR (2000) Greenhouse gases in intensive agriculture: contributions of individual gases to the radiative forcing of the atmosphere. Science 289:1922–1925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Saunders C, Barber A, Taylor G (2006) Food miles—comparative energy/emissions performance of New Zealand’s agriculture industry. Research Project No. 285. http://www.lincoln.ac.nz/documents/2328_rr285_s13389.pdf
  35. SCB (Statistiska Centralbyrån) (2010) Livsmedelsförsäljningstatistik 2010, HA 24 SM 1101. Statistics Sweden, food sales 2010. www.scb.se/Statistik/…/HA0103_2010A01_SMHA24SM1101_1.pdf
  36. Sim S, Barry M, Clift R, Cowell SJ (2007) The relative importance of transport in determining an appropriate sustainability strategy for food sourcing. Int J Life Cycle Assess 12:422–431Google Scholar
  37. Smedman A, Lindmark-Månsson H, Drewnowski A, Edman AKM (2010) Nutrient density of beverages in relation to climate impact. Food Nutr Res 54:art no. 517Google Scholar
  38. Soh KG (1997) Fertilizer use by crops. IFA Agro-economics Meeting, Beijing, China. United Nations, 2005. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2005Google Scholar
  39. Sonesson U, Jønsson H, Mattson B (2004) Post consumption sewage treatment in environmental systems analysis of foods. J Ind Ecol 8(3):51–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stoessel F, Juraske R, Pfister S, Hellweg S (2012) Life cycle inventory and carbon and water foodprint of fruits and vegetables: application to a Swiss retailer. Environ Sci Technol 46:3253–3262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Trenkel ME (2010) Slow- and controlled-release and stabilized fertilizers: an option for enhancing nutrient efficiency in agriculture, 2nd edn. IFA, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  42. USEPA (1998) Landfill air emissions estimation model (version 2.01). EPA-68-D1-0117, EPA 68-D3-0033, US Environmental Protection AgencyGoogle Scholar
  43. USEPA (2005) First-order kinetic gas generation model parameters for wet landfills. EPA-600/R-05/072, US Environmental Protection AgencyGoogle Scholar
  44. Vazquez-Rowe I, Villanueva-Roy P, Moreira T, Gumersindo F (2012) Environmental analysis of Ribeiro wine from a timeline perspective: harvest year matters when reporting environmental impacts. J Environ Manage 98:73–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wallén A, Brandt N, Wennersten R (2004) Does the Swedish consumer’s choice of food influence greenhouse gas emissions? Environ Sci Pol 7:525–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wicke B, Dornburg V, Junginger M, Faaij A (2008) Different palm oil production systems for energy purposes and their greenhouse gas implications. Biomass Bioenerg 32:1322–1337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Williams AG, Audsley E, Sandars DL (2006) Determining the environmental burdens and resource use in the production of agricultural and horticultural commodities. Main Report. Defra Research Project IS0205. Cranfield University and Defra, BedfordGoogle Scholar
  48. Worobetz K (2000) Loss of biodiversity is a critical issue. Department of Biological Sciences. University of Alberta, 14 April 2000. http://members.tripod.com/foro_emaus/Growth.htm
  49. World Banana Forum (2012) Working Group on Sustainable Production Systems and Environmental Impact. http://www.fao.org/economic/worldbananaforum/working-groups/wg01/en/
  50. WRI (World Resources Institute) and WBSCD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) (2011) Greenhouse gas protocol. Product life cycle accounting and reporting standard. http://www.ghgprotocol.org
  51. WRAP (2008) The food we waste. Food waste report v 2. Project RBC405-0010Google Scholar
  52. Xiloyannis C, Montanaro G, Dichio B (2011) Sustainable orchard management, fruit quality and carbon footprint. Acta Horticulturae, p 913Google Scholar
  53. Yoshikawa N, Amano K, Shimada K (2008) Evaluation of environmental load on fruits and vegetables consumption and its reduction potential. Environ Syst Res 36:255–263Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food and PackagingOstfold ResearchFredrikstadNorway
  2. 2.Swedish Institute for Food and BiotechnologyGothenburgSweden

Personalised recommendations