Resource efficiency analysis through planetary boundary-based life cycle assessment: a case study of sugarcane in Pakistan

Hafiz Usman Ghani, Morten Ryberg, Anders Bjørn, Michael Zwicky Hauschild, Shabbir H. Gheewala*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Extensive agriculture activities for crop production have led to increasing environmental impacts that threaten to exceed environmentally safe limits. The purpose of this study is to analyze resource efficiency of the agri-food industry, considering the case of sugarcane production in Pakistan.
Methods:
A holistic approach has been applied by determining the relevant impact categories and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and linking them with Planetary Boundary-based Life Cycle Assessment (PB-LCA). Both the spatially generic and spatially resolved approaches were considered with application of different sharing principles.
Results and discussion: Application of different sharing principles showed high variations in the assigned share of the safe operating space values. When taking a spatially generic approach, most of the impacts (except marine eutrophication and water consumption) were within the safe operating space for equal per capita, economic, caloric, and grandfathering sharing principles. However, all the impacts exceeded their limits considering the agri-land sharing and land use impact surpassed its budget considering the grandfathering sharing. In the spatially resolved approach, most of the impact values surpassed the available budgets. Furthermore, the failure to attain the pertinent SDG targets from a PB-LCA perspective is indicated by the exceeding of safe operating space for relevant impact categories.
Conclusions: Overall, the production of sugarcane was found to be unsustainable, requiring urgent action to promote resource improvement and contain the impacts within safe limits. The developed framework enabled the evaluation of the SDGs using PB-LCA at the product level. The target-driven impact reduction values would help in achieving the targets and prioritizing the efforts by making informed decisions for reducing impacts within safe limits.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Volume28
Pages (from-to)1561-1576
Number of pages16
ISSN0948-3349
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Resource Efficiency
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Planetary boundaries
  • Sharing principle
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Sugarcane

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