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When quantifying the environmental impacts of particular foods, the energy and resources used during the production, processing, packaging, storage, transportation, preparation and disposal needs to be considered...

What tool is used to measure the environmental impact of a food?

A commonly used framework to quantify the impact of food is Life Cycle Analysis, which is useful for guiding recommendations, practice and policies. The Life Cycle Analysis framework is internationally standardised and measures the materials, energy and emissions of a food product. A benefit of using the LCA method to quantify the environmental impact of a food is that it is sensitive to shifting the burden from one part of the food system to another (as it includes all elements).


Deriving a Life Cycle Analysis value is a complex, costly and resource intensive process due to complex food supply chains. Although other countries have impressive data on the environment impact of many foods (compared to Australia), these values are not directly transferrable to an Australian context due to the vast land we live on, varying climates throughout Australia, differences in farming practices and waste disposal method.


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