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PW06 Life-Cycle Assessment
(PW092) Benchmarking environmental, social and economic performance of farms.
de Snoo, Prof. dr. 1, Udo de Haes, Prof. dr. 1, 1 Leiden University (CML), LEIDEN, The Netherlands
ABSTRACT- Benchmarking environmental, social and economic performance of farms The usual route for the improvement of agricultural practice towards sustainability runs via labeling schemes for products or farm practice. In this context quite a number of initiatives do exist, both nationally and internationally. In organic farming systems the focus is on not using artificial fertilizer and pesticides. In integrated farming systems standards are being set for using less fertilizer, pesticides etc. In both approaches requirements are in absolute terms, disregarding the large variation in environmental performance of farms. Moreover, farmers are not stimulated to further enhance their environmental performance when they meet the standards. Another approach for the promotion of sustainable farming concerns the concept of benchmarking , which takes into account competition among farmers. The main element is that agricultural practice is characterized by a number of quantitative criteria, related to environmental, social and economic aspects, which can be assessed by the farmer himself. The results can be compared with the scores of relevant farms (same area etc.) or those of the same farm in the past. They can form the basis for agreements between farmers and the food industry, both nationally and internationally. A Dutch working organization involving food industry and retailers (Stichting Duurteelt) recently started such an initiative at the Internet. Experiences will be presented from the arable farming in the Netherlands, with a first focus on environmental aspects. Attention will be given to the criteria used, the organizational aspects and the drivers involved for the different stakeholders in the chain.
Key words: Life cycle management, Benchmarking agricultural performance of farms
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