This paper evaluates the eco-efficiency performance of agriculture at the sector level using the joint application of life cycle assessment (LCA) and data envelopment analysis (DEA) techniques. The research has been performed for the agricultural production of the 28 member states of the European Union (the EU-28). The foundation for the calculation of the eco-efficiency performance was a statistically selected set of impact categories derived from the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase as input values and economic indicators, with the gross domestic product (GDP) of their agriculture as the output value. The results of the analysis showed that the agricultural sectors of 10 member states of the European Union (i.e., Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, and Sweden) are relatively eco-efficient. The remaining 18 member states of the EU-28 have eco-inefficient agricultural sectors, though to a varying extent. This means that their agricultural sectors consume too many natural resources (in particular, energy), use too much fertilizer, and produce considerable amounts of airborne emissions in relation to the current level of GDP per hectare. These insights into the eco-efficiency performance of agriculture in the EU-28 may contribute to the adoption of better management techniques and more effective agricultural policies.
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