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Assessing Energy and Environmental Efficiency of the Spanish Agri-Food System Using the LCA/DEA Methodology

Author

Listed:
  • Jara Laso

    () (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Cantabria, Avda. de los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain)

  • Daniel Hoehn

    () (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Cantabria, Avda. de los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain)

  • María Margallo

    () (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Cantabria, Avda. de los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain)

  • Isabel García-Herrero

    () (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Cantabria, Avda. de los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain)

  • Laura Batlle-Bayer

    () (UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Pg. Pujades 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain)

  • Alba Bala

    () (UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Pg. Pujades 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain)

  • Pere Fullana-i-Palmer

    () (UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Pg. Pujades 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain)

  • Ian Vázquez-Rowe

    () (Peruvian LCA Network, Department of Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Av. Universitaria 1801, San Miguel, Lima 15088, Peru)

  • Angel Irabien

    () (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Cantabria, Avda. de los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain)

  • Rubén Aldaco

    () (Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Cantabria, Avda. de los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain)

Abstract

Feeding the world’s population sustainably is a major challenge of our society, and was stated as one of the key priorities for development cooperation by the European Union (EU) policy framework on food security. However, with the current trend of natural resource exploitation, food systems consume around 30% of final energy use, generating up to 30% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Given the expected increase of global population (nine billion people by 2050) and the amount of food losses and waste generated (one-third of global food production), improving the efficiency of food systems along the supply chain is essential to ensure food security. This study combines life-cycle assessment (LCA) and data envelopment analysis (DEA) to assess the efficiency of Spanish agri-food system and to propose improvement actions in order to reduce energy usage and GHG emissions. An average energy saving of approximately 70% is estimated for the Spanish agri-food system in order to be efficient. This study highlights the importance of the DEA method as a tool for energy optimization, identifying efficient and inefficient food systems. This approach could be adopted by administrations, policy-makers, and producers as a helpful instrument to support decision-making and improve the sustainability of agri-food systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Jara Laso & Daniel Hoehn & María Margallo & Isabel García-Herrero & Laura Batlle-Bayer & Alba Bala & Pere Fullana-i-Palmer & Ian Vázquez-Rowe & Angel Irabien & Rubén Aldaco, 2018. "Assessing Energy and Environmental Efficiency of the Spanish Agri-Food System Using the LCA/DEA Methodology," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(12), pages 1-18, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jeners:v:11:y:2018:i:12:p:3395-:d:187773
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Chan Kyu Lee & Mo Chung & Ki-Yeol Shin & Yong-Hoon Im & Si-Won Yoon, 2019. "A Study of the Effects of Enhanced Uniformity Control of Greenhouse Environment Variables on Crop Growth," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(9), pages 1-24, May.
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    4. George Halkos & Kleoniki Natalia Petrou, 2019. "Analysing the Energy Efficiency of EU Member States: The Potential of Energy Recovery from Waste in the Circular Economy," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(19), pages 1-32, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    data envelopment analysis; energy efficiency; food loss and waste; life-cycle assessment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q47 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy Forecasting
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q49 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Other

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