Life Cycle Analysis and Sustainability Foods

life cycle analysis and sustainability Food can assess carbon that accumulated resulting from Food. To find out the carbon footprint, a holistic study is needed covering every production activity.

Carbon footprint
 Carbon footprint of different foods

One method that can be used to research carbon footprint is the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study. By tracing environmental impacts throughout the life cycle analysis and sustainability, we can have a more comprehensive view of the environmental impact of a product. Before researching it, we need to know the supply chain of a food

Supply Chain's carbon footprint

For example, for the food carbon footprint, then process

  • Land use
  • Farming
  • Transportation,
  • the cooking process,
  • Energy use
  • Packaging

Many life cycle analysis and sustainability studies have analyzed the carbon footprint of a food product. Most of the Green House Gases (GHG) come from land use and livestock.

There are several opinions regarding this land use. The first opinion data is from Suwondo 2014, which states that this land-use produces large amounts of carbon dioxide from biomass combustion activities, fertilization, use of lime and so on.

Meanwhile, for more developed countries, the agricultural system is more sustainable. With this system many countries claim that their agriculture can actually reduce carbon dioxide. The reason is that agricultural plants absorb carbon dioxide in the process of photosynthesis.

Also read: Biggest ways to reduce carbon footprint in the city

What food has the highest carbon footprint?

Base on life cycle analysis and sustainability, The largest carbon footprint is dominated by food originating from livestock. Meanwhile, food originating from agriculture and plantations is relatively low. This of course depends on the type of process used in producing food.

Here is the largest carbon footprint written by Dorothy Neufeld

  • Beef (beef herd) 60 kgCO2e
  • Lamb & Mutton 24 kg CO2e
  • Cheese 21 kgCO2e
  • Beef (dairy herd) 21 kgCO2e
  • Chocolate 19 kg CO2e
  • Coffee 17 kgCO2e
  • Prawns (farmed) 12 kg CO2e
  • Palm Oil 8 kg CO2e
  • Pig Meat 7 kg CO2e
  • Poultry Meat 6 kgCO2e

The very high carbon footprint of beef is dominated by livestock activities. This is because cows produce methane from their dung. The study of life cycle analysis and sustainability shows that the conversion of land to animal feed also provides a very high carbon footprint. Meanwhile, transportation actually gives low results.

The carbon footprint of this livestock also affects other sectors such as milk production. Dairy cows also produce high methane. But the good news is that the cow doesn't have to be slaughtered for food. And can be productive for a long period of time.

However, if you want milk that is more environmentally friendly, then soy milk has a smaller environmental impact than cow's milk.

Chocolate is a plant food that produces the largest carbon footprint compared to other fruits. The biggest factor is the agricultural sector, which requires large land clearing and fertilizers. Plus, chocolate is a favorite food of developed countries which usually do not have land for gardening. So the cocoa beans have to be imported from developing countries with quite a distance.

What food has the lowest carbon footprint?

  • Nuts 0.3 kgCO2e
  • Citrus 0.3 kgCO2e
  • Apple 0.4 kgCO2e
  • Root Vegetable 0.4 kgCO2e
  • Bananas 0.7 kg CO2e
  • Casava 1 kgCO2e
  • Corn 1 kgCO2e
  • Wheat and rye 1.4 kg CO2e
  • Rice 4 kgCO2e
  • Eggs 4.5 kg CO2e

The Carbon Footprint of food derived from plants is much smaller than that of plants derived from animals. The influencing factor in the diet of this plant is the transportation process which is far or near.

The carbohydrate food that has the best carbon footprint is cassava, which is 1 kg CO2e. Meanwhile, oranges and Apple still hold the smallest carbon footprint fruits.

If you are looking for a protein source, you can choose eggs. Compared to meat, eggs have a less environmental impact. Base on life cycle analysis and sustainability, eggs have a carbon footprint of 4.5 kg CO2e while the meat is 60 kg CO2e.

Is vegan safe the world?

We have already seen that foods of plant origin have a less environmental impact. The use of land for agriculture is smaller than for livestock. Base on life cycle analysis and sustainability, the vegan diet is predicted to reduce greenhouse gases by 70%.

But of course, not all vegetables and fruits have a small carbon footprint. Study of life cycle analysis and sustainability shows that there are several vegetarian foods that have a significant environmental impact.

Avocado is a fruit that requires a lot of water. In summer, avocado needs 209 liters of water to survive. After harvesting, avocados need to be soaked in hot water so they don't rot easily and get attacked by insects.

Diets made from mushrooms also have a high environmental impact. Starting from the planting period, the mushrooms have released 0.7 kg of CO2 e. This happens because the fungus needs to keep its body moist because it grows in places that are rarely exposed to the sun. The total carbon footprint produced per kilogram of mushrooms is 3 kg CO2 e.

Nuts actually produce a small carbon footprint. Even with modern agriculture, beans can provide a negative carbon footprint. However, it is different from almonds and cashews which give a high carbon footprint. The reason for this high value on life cycle analysis and sustainability is due to the use of packaging which results in a yield of 2.61 kg CO2 e.

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