Product Chain Actors’ Potential for Greening the Product Life Cycle The Case of the Swedish Postfarm Milk Chain
Magazine article, 2008

The challenge in working with environmental improvements is to select the action offering the most substantial progress. However, not all actions are open to all actors in a product chain. This study demonstrates how life cycle assessment (LCA) may be used with an actor perspective in the Swedish postfarm milk chain. The potential measures were identified, applied by the dairy, retailer, and household, that gave the most environmental improvement in a life cycle perspective. Improved energy efficiency, more efficient transport patterns, reduced milk and product losses, and organic labeling were investigated. Milk, yogurt and cheese were considered. After LCAs of the products were established, improvement potentials of the actors were identified and quantified. The quantification was based mostly on literature studies but also on assumptions. Then the LCAs were recalculated to include the estimated improvement potential. To find the action with the greatest potential, the environmental impacts of the modified and original LCAs were compared for each actor. No action was superior to any other from the dairy perspective, but reduced wastage lowered most impacts for all three products. For retailers, using less energy is the most efficient improvement. From the household perspective, reducing wastage gives unambiguously positive results. When households choose organic products, reductions in energy use and greenhouse gases are even larger, but eutrophication increases. Overall, households have greatest potential for improvement while yogurt is the product offering the most improvement potential.





life cycle assessment (LCA)



Johanna Berlin

Ulf Sonesson

SIK – the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology

Anne-Marie Tillman

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

Journal of Industrial Ecology

1088-1980 (ISSN) 1530-9290 (eISSN)

Vol. 12 1 95-110

Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering



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