Retail & Food I: LCM in the Retail and Food Sectors I
Time: Wednesday, 31/Aug/2011: 9:00am - 10:45am
Session Chair: Llorenc Mila i Canals
Session Chair: Gerard Gaillard
Location: Room 2
1st floor


How to measure and manage the life cycle greenhouse gas impact of a global multinational company

Nicole Unger, Henry King, Siri Calvert, Llorenç Mila i Canals

Unilever, United Kingdom

Unilever is a multinational fast moving consumer goods company with a long standing reputation on sustainability. The next step on this journey was made when the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was launched in November 2010 ( One aim therein is the ambition to half the average per consumer use environmental footprint of products in respect of greenhouse gases (GHGs), water, and waste as well as to move to sustainable sourcing of agricultural raw materials by 2020.

In order to have a starting point for these ambitious targets it is necessary to understand the current level of impact. Therefore, the GHG footprint of the business in 2008 was calculated on approx. 1600 representative products across 14 countries and representing 70 % of sales volume.

The 2008 baseline shows that less than 5 % of the product life cycle GHG impacts occur in Unilever’s own operations – the main contributions occur either with the suppliers of our raw materials or when the consumer uses products. Thus, whilst programmes to reduce GHG emissions from manufacturing will continue, the largest reduction opportunities exist across the value chain, in particular in the consumer use stage (68 % of the impact). To achieve reductions in this stage requires changes in product technology and consumer behaviour supported by the appropriate public policies.

In addition Unilever will continue to take actions to reduce its GHG impact upstream of its manufacture. For instance Unilever has committed to purchase all palm oil from certified sources by 2015 and thereby avoid further deforestation of rainforests. There is also work in progress to understand the GHG emissions crops through the roll-out of a GHG management tool for farmers (Cool Farm tool); just to name a few initiatives.

This paper will describe the approach taken to measure the GHG baseline and the challenges encountered. Moreover, the paper will discuss how the information and insights gained from this exercise has helped guide Unilever’s actions on GHG reduction across the value chain.

Developing LCA methodology guide for the food industry

Hannele Pulkkinen, Kristoffer Krogerus, Juha-Matti Katajajuuri, Merja Saarinen, Hanna Hartikainen, Frans Silvenius, Heli Yrjänäinen

MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Finland

The Foodprint - research programme aims to harmonise calculation methods and communication of footprints in the Finnish food sector taking care that international developments and best practices are taken into account. Many international standards and guidelines are published but no common approved standard nor communication method are available. Some of the most challenging issues in the methodology development are described in this paper. These issues are critical as they affect comparability and the magnitude of LCA studies’ results, and because international standards does not give adequate guidance on them.

Present data quality requirements and plain division of data to primary and secondary are seen insufficient. Therefore, in the proposed methodology more detailed requirements shall be given separately for each life cycle phase. Instructions will be given whether data shall be collected directly from a supply chain, or gathered from national statistics, databases etc., and which are adequate data sources. The intention is to harmonise the data requirements from agricultural phase and the fairly comprehensive data, which is already collected by primary producers for other purposes in Finland.

Work is underway to develop general principles for choosing appropriate allocation methods for situations where it is not feasible to avoid allocation (e.g. through system expansion). Some examples of allocation situations and comparisons of allocation methods are going to be further explored in R&D projects of the food industry.

Different methods to calculate land-use impacts, such as carbon storage, sequestration, soil carbon change and land conversion, have been compared. Most methods are currently very rough and large methodological differences were found.

New emission factors are also introduced. For example, to reflect the national conditions better, it is planned to use measured average values for cereals and grass in estimating the emissions of N2O associated with cultivation. According to the emission measurements made in Finland, the average emission rate of cereals shall be about twice as large as IPCC defaults. Another area of improvement and generation of defaults are emission factors for electricity production. It is proposed to use as specific emissions factors related to the actual electricity supplier. This means that when the production profile is known, defaults for different production types shall be used.

LCA methodology from analysis to actions: Some Barilla's examples of improvement projects

Luca Fernando Ruini1, Laura Marchelli1, Assunta Filareto2

1Barilla G.&R. Fratelli, Italy; 2Life Cycle Engineering, Italy

BARILLA’s development policy is oriented to the research of business strategies that follow as much as possible the sustainability, using as Key Performance Indicators (KPI) Environmental Footprint (greenhouse gas emissions reduction, use of recycle materials), Energy Efficiency (development of energy saving products and process, rationalization of fossil fuels use) and Water management (rationalization of water consumption along the product chain).

The environmental issue is investigated by mean of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in order to identify possible improvement projects.

One of the first analysis focused on the evaluation of durum wheat pasta going deeply in each phase of the whole chain (durum wheat cultivation, milling, pasta production, packaging production, product transport and home cooking phase).

For each phase a specific project has been launched:

  • Durum wheat cultivation is one of the two most relevant in terms of environmental burdens. For this reason the cropping system has been studied taking into account the environmental impacts, the economic income, the mycotoxin index and the fertilizer nitrogen use. Results of this project are now in process to be used in the next revision of the cultivation crop guidelines, introduced in durum wheat suppliers contracts;
  • The cogeneration is adopted as a standard for the Italian pasta plant and an energy saving projects has been launched. Beside a better technical and economical efficiency, also an environmental impacts reduction have been achieved;
  • Barilla has developed a specific life cycle tool in order to design a more sustainable packaging;
  • A project has been launched in order to evaluate the environmental impacts of the rationalization of the logistic network;
  • Concerning the home cooking phase a project has been carried out aimed at reducing the water consumption, making steady the pasta qualities. This project could help to provide some better consumer’s cooking recommendation.

After pasta LCA, several other products have been analysed (bakery products, sauces) in the same perspective. In order to certify and publish in an easy and reliable way the LCA results, during the 2010, the Barilla Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) process system has been implemented and certified.

LCM approach in the retail sector of cleaning products in Brazil

Luiz Kulay, Luiza Arruda, Gil Silva

University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Incorporating environmental factors into the management business has become, step by step, customary practice for the Brazilian companies. This behavior can particularly be observed in companies from services sector. That’s the case of an organization of retail house cleaning supplies and household cleaning products sector. Concerned with its image in the market, it decided to establish a program to improve the environmental performance of products it distributed.

The program was structured as a technical partnership with the retailer, the manufacturers of cleaning products, and the Group of Prevention of Pollution (GP2) from Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo. The first project embraces a comparative LCA study for two of the most important products in the portfolio of floor cleaning: HD201 and HD410.

From these results, retailer plans to establish management strategies based on environmental issues to be included in company’s decision-making process. In this frame, were defined as performance indicators for the project: Greenhouse Gases Emissions (GHG), Water Consumption, and Ecological Footprint.

Scope definition step considered a cradle to grave approach. The environmental performance of the manufacturing steps from HD201 and HD410 were modeled by primary data. Similar procedure was applied to the stages of: raw materials obtaining; storage; and transport included in the product system. It was decided that the use scenario of both cleaning agents would be an industrial cafeteria of 100m2 area. It was determined that the liquid emissions generated at this stage go through municipal sewage treatment system before its disposal into the environment.

In terms of GHG emissions, HD201 contribution was 88.9kg CO2 eq., a figure 27.4% higher than the value determined for HD410. This difference is due to the alcohol used in the formulation of HD410 be obtained from renewable sources.

Regarding water consumption, both contributions - 407L to HD 201 and 286L to HD410 - are related to hydroelectricity generation. HD201 overcomes HD410 because of the higher energy consumption during the production of its intermediates.

Finally, regarding Ecological Footprint, HD201 occupies 0.067m2a of area, against 0.028m2a used by HD410. Contribution made by palm fruit cultivation, an important input in the production of HD201, must be highlighted.

Results from LCA's study prompted the retailer to take two decisions: stimulate sales of HD410 through ecological marketing campaigns; and conceive from concepts of Ecodesign, a product able to replace HD201 at medium term. This should be the next project from the partnership.

Assessing management influence on environmental impacts under uncertainty: A case study of paddy rice production in Japan

Kiyotada Hayashi

National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Japan


Due to increased public interests in sustainable production and consumption of agricultural products, the number of applications of LCA to agriculture is growing. LCA studies on rice cultivation have been conducted in Asian, European, and North American counties. In order to develop sustainable rice production, it is important to establish the relationship between management practices and their impacts on the environment. However, the environmental impact such as global warming in the earlier studies has been assumed to be one value and thus statistical distributions of the impact and management influence on them have not been fully understood. Therefore, this study analyzes management influence on environmental impacts with paying explicit attention to probability distributions. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption were used as environmental categories. Farm management data about paddy rice cultivation prepared by the prefectures of Japan for improving extension services were used for the analysis. Simplified LCA and uncertainty analysis including Monte Carlo methods and resampling (bootstrapping) were applied.


(1) The estimated average of energy consumption was 8.07 MJ/kg and the average of GHG emissions was 1.45 kg CO2 eq./kg with the 95% confidence interval of [1.40, 1.50], in which the uncertainty of methane emissions were considered. The probability distributions for both environmental categories were upper tailed.

(2) The correlation coefficients between rice production sizes and the environmental impacts were negative; for example, the coefficient between CO2 emissions per kg and the production size was -0.192 and the 95% confidence interval for it was [-0.331, -0.041]. It implies there is the “ecology of scale”.

(3) The environmental impacts of rice cultivation with direct seeding were lower than those with transplanting; for example, CO2 emissions per kg for direct seeding were 0.52 with the 95% confidence interval of [0.49, 0.59] and those for transplanting were 0.60 with [0.57, 0.64].


(1) Upper-tailed distributions for the environmental impacts may imply the existence of upper side outliers. It means the use of maximum values for a policy framework such as a carbon footprint may not be pragmatic.

(2) The effect of scale is important in developing farm management strategies, although we have to pay attention to the other environmental categories such as biodiversity.

(3) The result on the comparison between direct seeding and transplanting implies that there are further possibilities of extending direct seeding practices, although multi-criteria assessment will also be needed.

Environmental analysis of organic broiler production in France and improvement options

Fabienne Seguin1, Hayo M.G. van der Werf1, Isabelle Bouvarel2, Eve Pottiez2

1INRA, France; 2ITAVI, France

In this study, the Life Cycle Assessment method was applied to organic broiler production in France to identify the main stages contributing to environmental impacts from cradle to farm gate, to suggest improvement options and to contribute to designing innovative production systems. Producing one tonne of broiler live weight required 270 m3 of water, 33GJ of cumulative energy demand and 0.8 ha.year of agricultural land. It resulted in the emission of 2.3 t CO2 eq., 50 kg SO2 eq. and 27 kg PO4 eq. Feed was the main contributor for all impacts except acidification. Feed ingredients transport by road was also a major contributor, heating of the broiler house had significant impacts. This study was part of a project which involved stakeholders of the broiler production chain. Project participants became familiar with the LCA method and its results; this will enable them to better consider environmental issues in the future.

Timeline LCA study of the European hake fishery (Merluccius merluccius) in the Basque country

Saioa Ramos1, Ian Vazquez-Rowe2, Gumersindo Feijoo2, Jaime Zufia1

1AZTI-Tecnalia, Spain; 2University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The Basque country has traditionally been an important fishing region at a European level, but fleet characteristics and target species have shifted considerably throughout the past century due to the depletion or overexploitation of many traditional fisheries. Despite of the strong reduction in the number of vessels in the past few years, the importance of this fleet is obvious since its total tonnage is comparable to that of Ireland or Germany. European hake ( Merluccius merluccius ) is one of the main species fished by the Basque fishing fleet, representing around 6% of the Basque annual landings and 20% of the total economic value. In this study, the environmental impacts linked to hake extraction has have been analysed on a temporal scale, in order to analyse the effect that varying landings and stock abundance may have on reporting environmental burdens. Inventory data for European hake extraction was collected over an eight-year period and used to carry out a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The selected fishery corresponds to the Basque coastal trawling fleet. The functional unit (FU) was set as 1 ton of landed gutted fish in a Basque port for each of the selected years. The selected data for the life cycle inventory was gathered from personal communication from ship-owners and from a fish first sale register in the Basque country.

Results proved the importance of assessing hake products throughout a broad timeline, in order to assess how stock abundance and distribution may affect the evaluated environmental impacts. Previous timeline analysis regarding Atlantic mackerel captures in the Basque fleet had shown the remarkable variations in environmental burdens. Nevertheless, the obtained results suggest that the specific characteristics of European hake regarding its theoretical low abundance fluctuations, together with fishing management in the area, such as total allowable catch (TACs) and daily quotas influence the relative low impact variations of this species when compared to previously assessed small pelagic species, such as Atlantic mackerel.