Sustainability Assessment Tool
Sustainability Assessment ToolDr Harpinder SandhuFlinders University, [email protected] The True Cost of American Food, San Francisco 15-16, Aril 2016
Key challenges of global agricultureDeclining natural resources
Two research/policy gapsWhy we need to measure all externalities in agriculture? To reflect true cost of food production
2. Why we need to estimate economic value of externalities? To influence economic and policy environment; to improve sustainable farm practices; and to raise consumer awareness.
Health and safety laws
Agriculture production systems
Soil protection Biological control of pests/diseasesImproved biodiversitySoil microbial activityReduce greenhouse gasesNutrient cyclingWater regulationAestheticsEco tourismFoodShelterFirewoodGlobal estimates of two farmland ES values $34 billion annuallyThe largest industry on the planet1.3 billion people involved directly, $4 trillion in global GDP (6 %)Sandhu, Wratten, Costanza, Pretty, Reganold, Porter 2015 PEER J
Farm Sustainability Assessment ToolProduction
Ecological and Economic Methods
Categories of externalities
TypesEcosystem services and disservicesDescriptionMethod used for valuationProduction benefitsCrop, livestock, milk etc.Provisioning services: These include food and services for human consumption,ranging from raw materials and fuelwood to the conservation of species and geneticmaterial Market valueEnvironmental benefitsWater regulation: magnitude of water runoff, flooding, and aquifer recharge, water storage potential Regulating services: Ecosystems regulate essential ecological processesand life-support systems through bio-geochemicalcycles and other biospheric processes Avoided costLocal climate regulation by carbon sequestration: Regulation of atmospheric chemical compositionAvoided costSoil erosion control: Role vegetative cover plays in soil retentionAvoided cost
Environmental benefitsNitrogen fixation: Biological nitrogen fixation by legumes in crops and pasturesSupporting services: These are the services that are required to supportthe production of other ecosystem goods andservices Avoided costNutrient cycling: Organic matter breakdown to release stored nutrients for crop useAvoided costBiological control of pests/diseases: Predators and parasites that control insect pests and diseasesAvoided cost
Environmental costsGreenhouse gas emissionsCarbon-di-oxide equivalent emissions from inputs, tillage, fuel use, livestock on farmDirect costDamage to water resourcesInfrastructure to treat pesticide and nitrate in water sourcesDirect costDamage to soil resourcesSoil losses due to management practicesReplacement costDamage to ecosystems and biodiversityLoss of biodiversity and impacts on other speciesReplacement costDamage to human healthPathogens and agrochemical that can enter food chainReplacement cost
Social benefitsEmployment: Employment generated on farm leads to benefits to wider community: Farm workers, familiesCultural services: Cultural services contribute to the maintenance ofhuman health and well-being by providing recreation,aesthetics and education Market valueRecreation: Recreational pleasure in agriculture, Farm tours, visitsMarket valueEducation: Knowledge generated on farm can be disseminated to wider community through books, presentations at conferences etcMarket value
Way forwardto adopt technologies that have less detrimental impacts on the human health and the environment. consumers can make informed decisions to choose products that have higher environmental and social benefits and less environmental costs. to develop a uniform metric system that can be used by food and agriculture industry as a label or a standard. to develop long term sustainable food and agriculture production systems.