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SENSE tool: easy-to-use web-based tool to calculate food product environmental impact
AZTI-Tecnalia, Food Research Division, Parque Tecnológico de Bizkaia, Edif 609, Derio, Spain.
INGENET Computer and Control Engineering, Gorbeia Kalea, 14, Orozko, Spain.
INGENET Computer and Control Engineering, Gorbeia Kalea, 14, Orozko, Spain.
ESU-services Ltd., Margrit-Rainer-Strasse 11C, Zurich, Switzerland.
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2016 (English)In: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, E-ISSN 1614-7502, Vol. 21, no 5, 710-721 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of the European SENSE project was to define an integral system to assess and communicate the environmental impacts of food products and to develop a web-based tool for Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs). The tool has been tested in salmon, beef-and-dairy, and fruit juice production sectors. Methods: The SENSE project has evaluated several existing methodologies for environmental impact assessment over the life cycle including also social aspects, in order to deliver a new integral system for the environmental and social assessment of agricultural and aquaculture food products. Results and discussion: The system includes a standardization of a data gathering system, a selection of relevant key environmental performance indicators for food supply chains and a common methodology to perform simplified life cycle impact assessment. The results are based on collected information on the use of resources and emissions generated along the supply chain of food or drink products. The main result is a web-based software tool that is based on a summation of the partial impacts of the different steps in food supply chains. In this software, different actors in the supply chain can enter their own data and link them to the data of other companies. The results obtained in the tool could be used for at least six different approaches: (i) environmental impact assessment of the product, (ii) food chain hot spot identification, (iii) comparison of hypothetical or real improvement scenarios, (iv) assessment of the environmental impact development over the years, (v) benchmarking opportunity for the companies, and (vi) a business to business communication strategy. The scientific robustness of the tool has been tested comparing the obtained results with the same analysis with commercial software. Conclusions: The SENSE tool is a simplified tool designed for food and drink SMEs to assess their sustainability on their own. This cannot be fully compared to a complete LCA study. The testing with SMEs showed that they need additional support for filling in the questionnaires correctly and interpret the results. The simplified evaluation of environmental impacts based on a life cycle approach could lead to benefits to SMEs within the food industry. The future application and development of the tool will be focused on adapting the tool to the Product Environmental Footprint initiative requirements and self-assessment opportunities. © 2015, The Author(s).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Ferlag , 2016. Vol. 21, no 5, 710-721 p.
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Natural Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-391DOI: 10.1007/s11367-015-0980-xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-391DiVA: diva2:941381
Available from: 2016-06-22 Created: 2016-06-22 Last updated: 2017-11-28Bibliographically approved

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