Towards better representation of organic agriculture in life cycle assessment
Journal article, 2020

Transitioning agriculture toward greater sustainability is vital. This Perspective argues for more-holistic consideration of organic agriculture in life cycle assessments, widely used to analyse environmental impacts. The environmental effects of agriculture and food are much discussed, with competing claims concerning the impacts of conventional and organic farming. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the method most widely used to assess environmental impacts of agricultural products. Current LCA methodology and studies tend to favour high-input intensive agricultural systems and misrepresent less intensive agroecological systems such as organic agriculture. LCA assesses agroecological systems inadequately for three reasons: (1) a lack of operational indicators for three key environmental issues; (2) a narrow perspective on functions of agricultural systems; and (3) inconsistent modelling of indirect effects.


Hayo M. G. van der Werf

Agrocampus Ouest

Marie Trydeman Knudsen

Aarhus University

Christel Cederberg

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Nature Sustainability

23989629 (eISSN)

Vol. 3 6 419-425

Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering

Environmental Management

Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology



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