Decisions to reduce greenhouse gases from agriculture and product transport: LCA case study of organic and conventional wheat

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

A streamlined hybrid life cycle assessment is conducted to compare the global warming potential (GWP) and primary energy use of conventional and organic wheat production and delivery in the US. Impact differences from agricultural inputs, grain farming, and transport processes are estimated. The GWP of a 1 kg loaf of organic wheat bread is about 30 g CO2-eq less than the conventional loaf. When organic wheat is shipped 420 km farther to market, organic and conventional wheat systems have similar impacts. These results can change dramatically depending on soil carbon accumulation and nitrous oxide emissions from the two systems. Key parameters and their variability are discussed to provide producers, wholesale and retail consumers, and policymakers metrics to align their decisions with low-carbon objectives.




Published In

Journal of Cleaner Production, 17, 2, 222-230.