Meat and milk products in Europe: Impacts and improvements

Weidema B P, Hermansen J, Eder P (2009)

Publication info

Pp. 295-305 in Nemecek T, Gaillard G (eds.): Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on LCA in the Agri-Food Sector.


The overall environmental impacts from consumption of meat and dairy products in EU-27 have been assessed by the use of hybrid life cycle assessment (input-output data supplemented by specific process data). For the impact assessment, we applied a flexible model that allows results to be presented both in the 14 traditional environmental midpoint indicators (global warming potentials, photochemical ozone creation potential, etc.) and in monetary units (Euro). Specifically for this project, a damage model for aquatic eutrophication was developed. We identified and quantified the improvement options for all processes contributing more than 10% to each of the midpoint impact categories. Rebound effects, synergies and dysergies of the different options were taken into account and we show the importance of rebound effects and interrelationships of the improvement options, as well as market constraints. The environmental impacts were monetarised and a separate socio-economic assessment performed, thus allowing a cost-benefit assessment of the improvements. We also analysed the significance of discounting. Uncertainties and limitations of the study are discussed.

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