An agri-food production oriented towards sustainability and Circular Economy (CE) models is able to enable the resource efficiency and the reduction of environmental impacts. In this perspective, indicators for the sustainability assessment can play a relevant role. Although there is a growing literature investigating sustainability and CE indicators, there is a lack of studies that offer a detailed framework of key elements included in agri-food indicators. The aim of this study is to review the recent literature for identifying and analyzing energy-related indicators in the agri-food sector, providing a comprehensive overview of activities and specific inputs that are taken into account. The knowledge of such elements and their respective weight factor represent a relevant aspect for the transition towards a future sustainable agri-food production, having a direct effect on the environmental decision-making. The main results show that: 1) the energy-intensive activities mainly consist in the agricultural machinery movement and transport, 2) the fuel consumption is generally taken into account according to its origin (fossil or biological), 3) the rate of the used clean energy is always considered as a critical input. This outlined framework allowed the authors to draw relevant research results, such as the evidence that the lack of technology and alternative sources of energy, besides an inefficient subsidy system, may be the main obstacles towards sustainability, especially in some countries where the level of mechanization is still far from modern standards.

A review of energy-based indicators for assessing sustainability and circular economy in the agri-food production

Forcina A.;
2022

Abstract

An agri-food production oriented towards sustainability and Circular Economy (CE) models is able to enable the resource efficiency and the reduction of environmental impacts. In this perspective, indicators for the sustainability assessment can play a relevant role. Although there is a growing literature investigating sustainability and CE indicators, there is a lack of studies that offer a detailed framework of key elements included in agri-food indicators. The aim of this study is to review the recent literature for identifying and analyzing energy-related indicators in the agri-food sector, providing a comprehensive overview of activities and specific inputs that are taken into account. The knowledge of such elements and their respective weight factor represent a relevant aspect for the transition towards a future sustainable agri-food production, having a direct effect on the environmental decision-making. The main results show that: 1) the energy-intensive activities mainly consist in the agricultural machinery movement and transport, 2) the fuel consumption is generally taken into account according to its origin (fossil or biological), 3) the rate of the used clean energy is always considered as a critical input. This outlined framework allowed the authors to draw relevant research results, such as the evidence that the lack of technology and alternative sources of energy, besides an inefficient subsidy system, may be the main obstacles towards sustainability, especially in some countries where the level of mechanization is still far from modern standards.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/105957
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