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Measuring and improving the environmental performance of organic farming

Code: 9781838796587
A. Muller, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and Institute for Environmental Decisions, Department of Environmental Systems Science, Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland; M. Meier and C. Schader, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland; A. Gattinger, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany; and M. Steffens, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland

Chapter synopsis: There is a large and growing body of literature comparing the environmental performance of organic and conventional farming in specific settings, either on farm or product level. However, how one assesses ‘environmental performance’ is a complex and multifaceted question, and one-dimensional indicators tend to neglect key aspects of production systems. This chapter evaluates a number of multidimensional methods of assessment, including Life Cycle Assessment, Productivity Analysis, multi-criteria assessment approaches and food systems modelling. It is concluded that the assessment of environmental performance must go beyond the level of production, and address consistency and sufficiency aspects that emerge at the consumption stage. The organic sector has a vital role to play in defining how performance of agro-systems and food systems should be assessed.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2017.0029.16
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Notions of environmental performance 3 Efficiency, consistency and sufficiency 4 Methods for assessing environmental performance 5 Improving performance 6 Conclusions and future trends 7 Acknowledgements 8 Where to look for further information 9 References

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