Analyzing the Consequences of Sharing Principles on Different Economies: A Case Study of Short Rotation Coppice Poplar Wood Panel Production Value Chain

Enrique Alejandro Perdomo Echenique*, Morten Ryberg, Eldbjørg Blikra Vea, Peter Schwarzbauer, Franziska Hesser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Quantifying the environmental impacts of value chains on the earth’s ecological limits is crucial to designing science-based strategies for environmental sustainability. Combining the Planetary Boundaries (PB) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework can be used to estimate if a value chain can be considered as Absolute Environmentally Sustainable (AES) in relation to the PB. One of the crucial steps in implementing the PB-LCA framework is using sharing principals to downscale the global PB to smaller scales (e.g., country) and calculate an assigned Safe Operating Space (aSOS). This study assesses the potential AES of a wood panel value chain in Austria and Slovakia to understand the consequences of applying diverse sharing principles on different economies. Two economic and one emission-based sharing principles were compared. The results show that depending on the sharing principle implemented, different conclusions on the AES and potential strategies at a value chain and national level are achieved. Economic-based sharing principles are biased to the value chain’s economical contribution. As for the emission-based approach, greater aSOS is given to systems with a higher contribution of emissions. A potential downside of either approach is that it can lead to misleading environmental strategies, such as hindering the development of less wealthy value chains and giving less incentive to improve environmental efficiency. These outcomes highlight the importance of further research into resolving the issues about just assignment of SOS. Moreover, our study contributes to the effort of making the PB-LCA framework relevant for strategic decision-making at a value chain level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number461
JournalForests
Volume13
Issue number3
Number of pages16
ISSN1999-4907
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Wood-based products
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Absolute sustainability
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Planetary boundaries

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