The Life cycle assessment (LCA) has become an important tool to assess the environmental sustainability of agricultural products. However, these LCA often lack the assessment of the impact categories “biodiversity” and “soil quality” even though they are highly relevant in the context of agriculture. .An impact assessment of agricultural products without considering impacts on biodiversity and soil quality is incomplete and may lead to false conclusions when comparing the environmental sustainability of products from different farming systems (e.g. extensive/intensive or organic/conventional).
The aim of this project is to develop globally applicable life cycle impact assessment methods for biodiversity and soil quality that allow to differentiate the impacts of products originating from different farming systems. Further, the discriminatory power of life cycle assessments in general will be improved when used to compare agricultural products from different farming systems.
The improvement of the LCA methodology for the assessment of agricultural products will be achieved for agriculture in general and not for a specific production system (e.g. organic farming only). The results of this project are meant to support the discussion on the environmental foot printing of food products. The publication of the results in peer reviewed journals will provide guidance for comparative assessments of products from different farming systems, leading to a more comprehensive and objective environmental impact assessment.