AgBalance® – Improving Sustainability Performance In Agriculture
Sustainability is integral to modern farming. It is at the center of a farmer’s daily work and drives improvement efforts on the farm. BASF has developed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool called AgBalance® that allows farmers to review the contribution of their current farming operation across all three sustainability pillars.
Life cycle approaches offer a robust assessment mechanism to monitor the sustainability performance. Life Cycle Thinking is about going beyond the traditional focus on production site and manufacturing processes, but includes environmental, social and economic impacts of a product over its entire life cycle (Life Cycle Initiative, 2017)1. This may facilitate the analysis of trade-offs between the economic, social and environmental dimensions within entire value chains.
On a farm, a variety of farming practices as well as input materials contribute to more or less sustainability in agriculture. How can this be measured to allow the comparison of different ways of farming? See below how it can be done.
Impact categories on a farm
1 Life Cycle Initiative. (2017). What is Life Cycle Thinking? Retrieved from Life Cycle Initiative: https://www.lifecycleinitiative.org/starting-life-cycle-thinking/what-is-life-cycle-thinking/
2 European Commission. (2017). Guidance for the development of Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs), version 6.3
3 ISO. (2006a). ISO 14040 Environmental Management - Life Cycle Assessment - Principles and Framework. Geneva: International Organization for Standardization.
4 ISO. (2006b). ISO 14044: Environmental Management - Life Cycle Assessment - Requirements and Guidelines. Geneva: International Organization for Standardization.