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Niels Halberg

Environmental assessment of organic juice imported to Denmark: a case study on orenges (Citrus sinensis) from Brazil

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Growing global trade with organic products has given rise to a debate on the environmental impacts during both production and transport. Environmental hotspots of organic orange juice produced by smallholders in Brazil, processed and imported to Denmark, were identified in a case study using a life cycle approach. Furthermore, small-scale organic orange production was compared with small-scale conventional and large-scale organic orange production in the case study area in Brazil. Transport was the main contributor (58%) to the global warming potential of organic orange juice from small-scale farmers imported to Denmark, followed by the farm stage (23%), especially the truck transport of fresh oranges in Brazil and of reconstituted orange juice in Europe. Non-renewable energy use per hectare was significantly lower on the organic small-scale farms than on the conventional, with a similar pattern for global warming potential and eutrophication. Including soil carbon sequestration in organic plantations widened the difference in global warming potential between organic and conventional. Organic small-scale farms had a higher crop diversity than conventional, which may have a positive effect on biodiversity along with the spontaneous vegetation between the organic orange trees and the absence of toxic pesticides. Comparing small-scale with large-scale organic orange production, crop diversity was higher on the small-scale farms, while global warming potential, eutrophication potential and the use of copper per hectare were significantly lower, indicating that environmental impacts from small-scale differ from large-scale organic farms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganic Agriculture - Official journal of The International Society of Organic Agriculture Research
Pages (from-to)167-185
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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