Special Issue "Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment within the Theoretical Framework of Circular Economy: Methodological Challenges and Epistemological Implications for Agri-Food Sector"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Anna Irene De Luca
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Feo di Vito 89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy
Interests: sustainable food production; life cycle methodologies; participatory research methods; agriculture and food systems; agricultural economics and rural development; circular economy; multicriteria decision analysis
Dr. Giacomo Falcone
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Feo di Vito 89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy
Interests: sustainability; life cycle methodologies; environmental impacts; agricultural economics and politics; rural development; circular economy; participatory methodologies
Dr. Nathalie Iofrida
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Feo di Vito 89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy
Interests: social sustainability; life cycle methodologies; short food supply chains; agricultural economics and politics; rural development; circular economy; participatory methodologies
Dr. Teodora Stillitano
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences (AGRARIA), Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria, Feo di Vito 89122 Reggio Calabria, Italy
Interests: sustainability; life cycle methodologies; life cycle costing ; agricultural economics and politics; rural development; circular economy; participatory methodologies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Circular economy is currently one of the most discussed concepts among researchers, politicians, and academics. Its main principle regards a more efficient use of resources and the decrease of wastes, stressing the necessity of reusing, recycling, and reducing to limit negative impacts on people and environment. Circular economy is about the rethinking of the current models of production and consumption, and agrofood systems, which are responsible for the pressure on the living environment as well as for assuring the survival of many farms in rural areas, must necessarily move toward transition pathways. Exploring the potential contribution of circular approaches to sustainable production in agrofood systems also means understanding how to pay more attention to the social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability.

To satisfy these purposes, sustainability evaluation tools are required to be systemic, multidisciplinary, and multicriterial.

However, undertaking such different dimensions is methodologically challenging and calls into question the epistemological foundations of sustainability science and circular economy.

One of the greatest concerns is around the combination of different assessment methods and merging their results in a suitable and believable way.

Can life cycle sustainability assessment fulfill these requirements? Does it allow approaching sustainability in a systemic way? Which are the best methods to merge all sustainability dimensions in a coherent and comprehensive evaluation that brings up the main urgencies of agrofood systems?

Methodological applications and theoretical discussions are welcome to this Special Issue. Papers received will be subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Dr. Anna Irene De Luca
Dr. Giacomo Falcone
Dr. Nathalie Iofrida
Dr. Teodora Stillitano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • life cycle analyses
  • life cycle sustainability assessment
  • circular Economy
  • sustainability science epistemologies
  • multidisciplinary and multicriterial methodologiesagr
  • agri-food sector

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Analysis of Socio-Economic Driving Factors of Food Expenditure Variation between Provinces in Indonesia
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1638; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041638 - 21 Feb 2020
Abstract
Food security has become one of the global challenges; therefore, monitoring food consumption is required. As food consumption is a resultant of food availability at an affordable price, food expenditure actually is a key indicator to assess food security policy. Particularly, the link [...] Read more.
Food security has become one of the global challenges; therefore, monitoring food consumption is required. As food consumption is a resultant of food availability at an affordable price, food expenditure actually is a key indicator to assess food security policy. Particularly, the link of food expenditure with socio-economic factors based on the perspective of spatial connectivity should be understood as nowadays food supply and demand between regions are increasingly connected. This study aims to define socio-economic driving factors of food expenditure that considering spatial connectivity between provinces in Indonesia. Data of household food expenditure and socio-economic factors by province including urbanization level, economic growth, gross domestic regional product (GDRP) per capita, poverty severity index, and unemployment rate were used. The preliminary test on the spatial correlation of food expenditure showed a significant result; thus, a spatial regression approach was employed. The results showed that declining food expenditure did not simply indicate increasing prosperity. Larger income disparity among the poor has become crucial to detect lower food expenditure caused by a lack of income. In addition, the increasing unemployment rate was followed by increasing food expenditure. Despite economic growth, increasing GDRP per capita and urbanization contributing to declining food expenditure, both poverty and unemployment are the main issues that threaten household’s ability to afford food. Furthermore, the effect of food expenditure in the neighboring region is also significant, but it shows a contradictory relationship as food expenditure in a region is decreasing when food expenditure in its neighbors is increasing, and vice versa. Therefore, reducing disparities in economic growth, GDRP per capita, urbanization, poverty, and unemployment rate between provinces is also crucial to support more equal food expenditure as well as to achieve the second goal of SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) in improving food security. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Policy Evidence Base for Agricultural Sustainability and Food Security: A Content Analysis of Life Cycle Assessment Research
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1033; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031033 - 01 Feb 2020
Abstract
Life cycle assessment is a widespread method for measuring and monitoring the environmental impacts of production processes, thereby allowing the comparison of business-as-usual with more ecological scenarios. Life cycle assessment research can support evidence-based policy making by comparing and communicating the environmental impacts [...] Read more.
Life cycle assessment is a widespread method for measuring and monitoring the environmental impacts of production processes, thereby allowing the comparison of business-as-usual with more ecological scenarios. Life cycle assessment research can support evidence-based policy making by comparing and communicating the environmental impacts of agricultural and food systems, informing about the impact of mitigating interventions and monitoring sectoral progress towards sustainable development goals. This article aims at improving the contribution of science to evidence-based policies for agricultural sustainability and food security, while facilitating further research, by delivering a content-analysis based literature review of life cycle assessment research in agricultural and food economics. Results highlight that demand-side and system-level approaches need further development, as policies need to support redesigned agricultural systems and newly conceived dietary guidelines, which combine environmental protection and health benefits, without reducing productivity. Similarly, more research effort towards consequential life cycle assessment and multidimensional assessment may benefit policy makers by considering the rebound effects associated with the large-scale implementation of impact-mitigating interventions. Promising interventions involve the promotion of waste circularization strategies, which could also improve the profitability of agriculture. For effective policy making towards agricultural sustainability and food security worldwide, countries with the greatest expected population growth and raise of urbanization rates need more attention by researchers. Full article
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The Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Trade: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031152 - 05 Feb 2020
Abstract
In line with the development of international trade, environmental concerns have arisen as a global problem. International trade has the potential to increase environmental externalities such as transboundary pollution, deforestation, transportation and production relocation avoiding environmental standards. The share of agricultural goods in [...] Read more.
In line with the development of international trade, environmental concerns have arisen as a global problem. International trade has the potential to increase environmental externalities such as transboundary pollution, deforestation, transportation and production relocation avoiding environmental standards. The share of agricultural goods in total export reached 15% in 2017. Since 2002, the proportion of unprocessed agricultural products have more than doubled, while the volume of processed goods in global trade has tripled. Despite the importance of agricultural trade worldwide, the number of studies exploring the trade-agriculture-environment nexus has so far been limited. This paper aims to provide an overview of the environmental impacts of agricultural trade based on the international economics literature published in recent years by way of a systematic literature review. Results suggest that most recent environmental studies do not view extended trade or trade liberalization in agriculture favourably. Only a limited number of papers state that a country or countries’ environment could benefit from agricultural trade, and only a few researchers have found that agricultural trade did not have any significant influence at all, or have instead found the effects on the environment to be ambiguous. Finally, the research reveals the most important consequences of pollution and offers potential solutions. Full article
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