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NSW DPI uses LCA to achieve sustainability

The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), silver sponsor of AgriFoodLCA, is using life cycle tools to improve the sustainability and competiveness of Australian agricultural practices.

One example is the National Grains Project, a project that looks at opportunities to improve crop production from an environmental perspective. This project is led by NSW DPI and partners with the CSIRO and Life Cycle Strategies.

“Using life cycle assessment, we can compare different practices options and improve the environmental impact of grain systems throughout Australia,” explains NSW DPI’s Manager of Climate Research and Development, Jason Crean.

In addition to the broad-acre grains studies, NSW DPI will be presenting two in depth studies on the cotton sector at AgriFoodLCA. The first explores different methods to calculate the climate change impact of cotton production in Australia, demonstrating the importance to use country specific values rather than global default values. This is important when considering future climate change actions and agreeing on priorities at important forums like the COP21 Climate Conference later this month in Paris. The second study uses consequential LCA to identify and measure the potential consequence of cotton production on other production systems in the economy. Here we looked at the environmental consequences of displacing animal feed and canola seed oil production, so policy makers and industry can see the full picture when they change production practices.

Research to understand the environmental impacts and benefits of different agriculture systems is essential to help the competitiveness of the agricultural in Australia, whilst sustainably safeguarding its future. As LCA-based environmental labelling becomes more important in Australia’s export markets, Australia’s work in improving its performance and becoming more transparent can help with opening up new markets for the food industry.

Spaces are still available to come to AgriFoodLCA, the 1st Life Cycle Assessment Conference for Agriculture and Food, in Melbourne on 23rd and 24th of November.

It is organised by ALCAS , the national peak body for Life Cycle Assessment professionals, and will be followed by LCM Australia 2015, The 9th Australian Conference on Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Management, and AusBuildLCA, The 1st Life Cycle Assessment Conference for Building and Construction.

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