European sheep and goat farming faces diverse challenges at global or local scales and constitutes an important sector for many countries, playing important sociocultural, economic and environmental roles. A closer examination of the overall sustainability of the sector is necessary to assess the performance of different farm types in various geographical settings. This comparative study evaluates the use of a common sustainability assessment (SA) tool for the major European countries in the sheep and goat sector. In particular, the study reports the results of a SA using the Public Goods (PG) Tool, adapted within the Innovation for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in Europe (iSAGE) Horizon 2020 project, which includes questions accounting for 13 dimensions of a sheep and goat farm sustainability. In total, 206 farmers from Greece, Italy, Spain, Finland, United Kingdom, France and Turkey were interviewed, all of which were typical of specific types of a pan-European sheep and goat farm typologies elaborated within iSAGE. The study resulted in composite indicators of performance in each dimension for each country. Finland, Italy and the United Kingdom performed better than other countries, while Turkey and Greece performed below average in most categories. The results highlight challenges for each country but also at the European level, the latter mainly relating to generational renewal and an unwillingness to invest in the adoption of a more sustainable approach with long-term results.
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