Ready for disseminating research at LCA Food 2018

Today sees the start of the 11th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Food 2018 at Bangkok (Thailand), a top science event in which the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF is participating to present its research on agrifood, waste management, and new materials.

lca food 2018


Researchers at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF are participating in the LCA Food 2018 conference, held in conjunction with the 6th LCA AgriFOOD ASIA regional forum and the 7th trans-disciplinary International Conference on Green and Sustainable Innovation (ICGSI) on 17-19 October. The theme of LCA Food 2018 is “Global food challenges towards sustainable consumption and production,” to explore sustainable solutions for the security of global food systems. “The pursuit of environmental sustainability at the Chair makes this conference a great opportunity to exchange knowledge on LCA application by presenting our ongoing research projects on agrifood, waste management, and new materials,” highlights Pere Fullana i Palmer, director at the Chair.

The conference focuses on the LCA methodology, “an analysis tool to measure the environmental impacts of systems, such as products or services, through its life cycle,” explains Pere Fullana i Palmer. The life cycle impact assessment results “facilitate the identification of hot spots to derive the strategies for life cycle management to improve the environmental performance of product and promote the shift towards sustainable agriculture and food production systems including more sustainable food consumption pattern via environmental certification and labelling schemes,” according to conference organisers.

Selected Agrifood Projects

Laura Batlle-Bayer, leader of the Agrifood Research Line will hold the oral presentation “Diet matters: the case of Spain,” in which researchers at the Chair have investigated the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions of the food consumption pattern of an average Spanish citizen, and compared it to an alternative diet based on the Spanish Dietary Guidelines. “Based on the current eating patterns, and assuming a daily energy intake of 2000 kcal, we estimated that the annual emissions related to diets are about 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents per capita. These emissions can be reduced by 19.5% when nutritional guidelines are followed, mainly due to the reduction of meat intake and the increase of plant-based products,” explains Batlle-Bayer. This work is part of the Ceres-ProCon Project*: “Food production and consumption strategies for climate change mitigation” at the Chair, aimed at design strategies to improve the sustainability of food production and consumption.

Also as a part also of this project, “A fair comparison of GHG emissions and nutritional quality of 4 ready-to-eat meals,” will be presented by Elodie Lemaire, researcher at the Agrifood Research Line. This work analyses and compares the GHG emissions of 4 ready-to-eat meals using the LCA methodology, taking into account their nutritional quality. The selected meals consist of a portion of vegetables and have a different composition: beef, rice, salmon, and chicken. Its results show that the stage of ingredient production (cropping, farming) is the main contributor to the GHG emissions, and the nutritional score of the meals can affect the results. Also, the meat-based meals generate the highest GHG emissions.

Selected Waste Management Projects

Fullana i Palmer will present the “Critical review process of an LCA comparative assertion: a case on beverage packaging waste management alternatives.” This work proposes “an adapted methodology to perform critical reviews of complete sustainability assessments, including environmental, social and economic analysis, that consists of a quadruple Quality Review Protocol implemented with a Stakeholder Review Panel and an Independent Expert Review Panel, and the final public exposure and scientific publication of the results.” This methodology has been tested in a real case study: the ARIADNA Project. “ARIADNA analyses the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the implementation in Spain (and in Catalonia, as an example of Region) of a mandatory Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). This project compares the current Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system with a hypothetical situation in which the two systems (EPR and DRS) would coexist,” explains Alba Bala, environmental coordinator of this work and leader of the Waste Management Research Line at the Chair.

This Line will also hold the oral presentation “Improving the Airline Catering Service,” by Gonzalo Blanca-Alcubilla, responsible for the Life Zero Cabin Waste Project** at the Chair. In this work, researchers at the Chair have performed an LCA to create a more sustainable catering service on flight applying eco-design measures showing that reusable and single use items impacts take place in different stages of their life cycle (flight phase 79%, and production 80% respectively). The ‘LIFE Zero Cabin Waste Project: Tackling international airline catering waste by demonstrating integral and safe recollection, separation & treatment,’ seeks to create an integrated model to reduce, reuse and recycle waste collected on Iberia airplanes and lay the foundations to enable other airlines to replicate this model.

Selected New Materials Projects

The Life cycle assessment of plastics with mineral fillers in packaging will be presented by researcher at the Chair Didem Civancik-Uslu, as a result of applying the Chair’s expertise for environmental assessment of new materials and technologies developed by production companies, providing them sustainable development, eco-design and circular economy alternatives. This work has been supported by the GCR Group through the Chair's Industrial PhD Programme, that supports Didem Civancik-Uslu PhD Thesis.


*The CERES-ProCon Project: "Food production and consumption strategies for climate change mitigation" (CTM2016-76176-C2-1-R) (AEI/FEDER, UE) has received funding from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, through the Agencia Estatal de Investigación (AEI) and Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER).

**The ZERO CABIN WASTE (LIFE / ENV / ES209) Project is co-financed by the European Union through the LIFE Program. The project partners are Iberia, Gate Gourmet, Ecoembes, Biogas Fuel Cell, Ferrovial and ESCI-UPF.



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