The environmental impact of fertilizer embodied in a wheat-to-bread supply chain

Posted by adrian
Type: 
article
Comparative: 
no
Publication year: 
2017
Language: 
English
Code: 
Food, Plants
Product: 
Bread
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Detailed LCA
Sponsor type: 
University
Practitioner(s): 
Liam Goucher
Practitioner(s) type: 
University
Summary
Functional unit: 
800 g loaf og bread (wheat)
Goal and scope of the summary: 
Goal: Knowing where and at what level environmental impacts occur within particular food supply chains is necessary if farmers, agri-food industries and consumers are to share responsibility to mitigate these impacts. Analysis of a complete supply chain for a staple of the global diet, a loaf of bread. We obtained primary data for all the processes involved in the farming, production and transport systems that lead to the manufacture of a particular brand of 800 g loaf.

More than half of the environmental impact of producing the loaf of bread arises directly from wheat cultivation, with the use of ammonium nitrate fertilizer alone accounting for around 40%. 

Ammonium nitrate fertiliser used in wheat cultivation contributes almost half (43 per cent) of the greenhouse gas emissions – dwarfing all other processes in the supply chain.

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