The new ‘Animal Production System Tool’
A flexible way to analyse animal production systems using different international standards
Blonk Consultants is developing the Animal Production Systems Tool, an innovative online tool that calculates the environmental impacts of the main global animal production systems. This tool can be used by companies to improve the sustainability performance of their products, evaluate innovations and assist with product development. It also provides valuable input to country trend analysis and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting. The inbuilt flexibility of the tool means that it can be used to analyse production systems against different standards and under different improvement scenarios.
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) calculations for entire animal production systems made by the tool are much more accurate than could be achieved before. This is made possible by the various animal production specific standards developed in recent years (such as the PEFCR Dairy and the LEAP guidelines) and the rapid expansion in available Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets for feed products.
Development of the tool
The Animal Production System Tool enables harmonised LCA/footprint studies of animal production systems. The tool implements several LCA and footprint calculation and sector standards. Based on the rules described in the selected standard, users are asked to provide relevant information about the animal production system under study. Using this information and the calculation rules of the standard, life cycle inventories are generated and connected to appropriate background datasets to create a cradle-to-farm-gate LCA dataset.
Internationally accepted standards and methodologies
The tool provides reliable results on the sustainability performance of animal products based on internationally accepted standards and methodologies, such as:
- IPCC guidelines on monitoring greenhouse gas emissions
- ISO LCA framework (14040/44 and others on carbon footprinting, water footprinting, etc.)
- EC PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) guidelines, specifically the PEFCR developments for feed, dairy and red meat
- FAO LEAP guidelines, generated guidelines for LCA work for feed, ruminants and pigs.
The tool provides several types of output, including a user interface with graphs and tables that can be exported to reports. The LCI data can also be exported to LCA software and other tools, giving users additional options such as including the output in their CSR reporting and using output to evaluate innovations or as a basis for product development.
A prototype of the tool is currently being reviewed and tested by external partners.
In 2019 the tool will be further expanded to include more animals, protocols and standards.