Contribution of organic farming to public goods in Denmark

Lizzie Melby Jespersen, Dorte Lau Baggesen, Erik Fog, Kirsten Halsnæs, John Erik Hermansen, Lise Andreasen, Beate Strandberg, Jan Tind Sørensen, Niels Halberg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The potential contribution of organic farming to the public goods, 'Nature and Biodiversity', 'Environment', 'Energy and Climate', 'Human Health and Welfare' and 'Animal Health and Welfare' in Denmark is guided and partly secured by the principles and specific requirements of the EU Organic Regulation. However, other factors, such as the production type, farm size, geographical location and - not the least - the management of the farm, also influence the contribution. Using the ban on synthetic pesticides and restricted use of antibiotics, including the requirements to compensate for and prevent such uses in organic farming, as examples, the positive and negative contributions of organic farming in relation to selected public goods were analysed. The contributions of organic farming to Nature and Biodiversity and Human and Animal Health and Welfare are mainly positive compared to conventional farming for all farm types, whilst the effects on Environment and Energy and Climate are mixed; i.e. some effects are positive and others are negative. The analysis revealed a need for further documentation and revision of the organic principles and specific organic requirements—in particular in relation to the public goods Energy and Climate, which at present are not addressed in the EU Organic Regulation. Moreover, some organic farming requirements and practices cause dilemmas; e.g. more space per animal and outdoor access improves Animal Health and Welfare but at the same time has negative effects on Environment, Energy Consumption and Climate Change. These dilemmas should be solved before OA may be fully attractive as an integrated policy measure supporting jointly several public goods objectives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganic Agriculture - Official journal of The International Society of Organic Agriculture Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)243-266
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • Antibiotics
  • Knowledge synthesis
  • Organic agriculture
  • Organic regulation
  • Pesticides
  • Public goods


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