Comparing the usefulness of assessment tools in evaluating the environmental impacts of organic greenhouse horticulture

This presentation refers to the Short-Term Scientific Mission done at the Institute for Agrifood Research and Technology in Cabrils (near Barcelona, Spain), in May-June 2015, as part of EU COST Action FA1105 ‘BioGreenhouse’.

The Mission’s main objective was to compare two chosen assessment tools, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Public Goods tool (PGT), both in the form of Excel worksheets, to evaluate the potential integration between their data, so that the development of a single holistic assessment method could be planned. The presentation mainly highlights the methodological differences and potential common points between the tools, referring to a chosen case study (Tolhurst Organic, a stockfree horticultural farm located near Reading, UK) that was assessed with both, and then gives suggestions for further research in the future.

While LCA gives quantitative results on impacts on key environmental categories, PGT shows ways to improve farming practices regarding a set of social, economic and environmental aspects through a simple scoring system. In this sense, trying to combine results from different assessment tools might be difficult because it emphasizes the lack of overall complementarity between them, but simultaneously it could be a useful starting point for an integrated discussion on production, use of natural resources and improvements of practices among decision-makers


Theme: crop diversity
Published: 28th January 2016
Author: Lucia Foresi