Product Chain Actors’ Potential for Greening the Product Life Cycle The Case of the Swedish Postfarm Milk Chain
Artikel i övrig tidskrift, 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)