Carbon and water footprint of pork supply chain in Catalonia: From feed to final products

Isabel Noya, Xavier Aldea, Carles M. Gasol, Sara González-García, Maria José Amores, Joan Colón, Sergio Ponsá, Isabel Roman, Miguel A. Rubio, Eudald Casas, María Teresa Moreira, Jesús Boschmonart-Rives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. A systematic tool to assess the Carbon Footprint (CF) and Water Footprint (WF) of pork production companies was developed and applied to representative Catalan companies. To do so, a cradle-to-gate environmental assessment was carried out by means of the LCA methodology, taking into account all the stages involved in the pork chain, from feed production to the processing of final products, ready for distribution. In this approach, the environmental results are reported based on eight different functional units (FUs) according to the main pork products obtained. With the aim of ensuring the reliability of the results and facilitating the comparison with other available reports, the Product Category Rules (PCR) for Catalan pork sector were also defined as a basis for calculations. The characterization results show fodder production as the main contributor to the global environmental burdens, with contributions higher than 76% regardless the environmental indicator or the life cycle stage considered, which is in agreement with other published data. In contrast, the results in terms of CF and WF lay above the range of values reported elsewhere. However, major discrepancies are mainly due to the differences in the co-products allocation criteria. In this sense, economic/physical allocation and/or system expansion have been mostly considered in literature. In contrast, no allocation was considered appropriate in this study, according to the characteristics of the industries and products under assessment; thus, the major impacts fall on the main product, which derives on comparatively higher environmental burdens. Finally, due to the relevance of fodder production in the overall impact assessment results, strategies to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions as well as water use associated to this stage were proposed in the pork supply chain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-143
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


  • Climate change
  • Environmental impacts
  • Global warming
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Pork value chain

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