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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Social life cycle assessment of Swedish organic and conventional pork production

Zira, S.; Roos, E.; Ivarsson, E.; Hoffmann, R.; Rydhmer, L.

Abstract

Purpose Sustainable animal food systems are increasingly important to society. Yet for pork, the most consumed meat product in Europe, there is no social life cycle assessment (S-LCA) in the literature. The breath and complexity of social issues and lack of data makes the task challenging. This study examines the risk of negative social impacts in Swedish pork production systems and includesworkers,farmers,consumers,local community,society, andpigsas stakeholders. Methods The objective was to assess the risk of negative social impacts for the production and consumption of 1000-kg pork (fork weight-bone free meat including cooking losses) originating from two different systems: organic and conventional pork production. Relevant social sustainability issues for pork production systems were identified through a literature search and a consultative workshop with experts. A life cycle inventory was conducted to collect data for activity variables and compute Social Risk (SR), a measure of the risk of negative social impacts related to a reference (here the average European social conditions). Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) was used to obtain weights for subcategories. The SR scores and the weights were used to calculate Social Risk Time (SRT) that relates the Social Risk to the functional unit by considering the 'exposure' to the risk, and the Social Hotspot Index (SHI), which relates the SRT to the worst possible situation for that system. Results and discussion The conventional pork system had 42% of inventory indicators with SR > 0.5 and the organic pork system had 32%. For all stakeholders, thepig farmhad the largest SRT in both production systems except forworkersin the organic pork system where the soybean farmhad the largest SRT. In the conventional pork system,societyas well asfarmersat thepig farmhad SHI > 0.5 slightly, meaning performing the same as European average. In the organic pork system, SHI < 0.5 for all stakeholders and subsystems. Conclusion Swedish pork production has lower risk of negative social impacts than the average European social conditions for most of the stakeholders:workers,pigs,local community, andconsumers.Farmersandsocietyat the subsystempig farmhave the same risk of negative social impacts as the average European social conditions. Due to the dependence of the results of the chosen reference level, the reliance on certification, and the indicators included, results should be interpreted and used with care.

Keywords

Social life cycle assessment; Pig; Activity variable; Social Hotspot Index; Social Risk Time; Analytical hierarchical processing

Published in

International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
2020, volume: 25, pages: 1957-1975
Publisher: SPRINGER HEIDELBERG

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger
SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-020-01811-y

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/107711