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Joint carbon footprint assessment and data envelopment analysis for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture production

Rebolledo-Leiva, Ricardo, Angulo-Meza, Lidia, Iriarte, Alfredo, González-Araya, Marcela C.
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.593-594 pp. 36-46
carbon, carbon footprint, eco-efficiency, environmental impact, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, growing season, models, orchards
Operations management tools are critical in the process of evaluating and implementing action towards a low carbon production. Currently, a sustainable production implies both an efficient resource use and the obligation to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The carbon footprint (CF) tool allows estimating the overall amount of GHG emissions associated with a product or activity throughout its life cycle. In this paper, we propose a four-step method for a joint use of CF assessment and Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). Following the eco-efficiency definition, which is the delivery of goods using fewer resources and with decreasing environmental impact, we use an output oriented DEA model to maximize production and reduce CF, taking into account simultaneously the economic and ecological perspectives. In another step, we stablish targets for the contributing CF factors in order to achieve CF reduction. The proposed method was applied to assess the eco-efficiency of five organic blueberry orchards throughout three growing seasons. The results show that this method is a practical tool for determining eco-efficiency and reducing GHG emissions.