Method : overall framework
The general architecture is represented by three modules, as described in Figure 1 below.
Three modules based on LCA methodologies and ecological knowledge
As mentioned in introduction, the methodology includes three elements, as described in Figure 1 :
Module 1 computes lifecycle impact assessment, with spatial differentiation for the main impact categories evaluated. Module 1 addresses the whole value chain of the product. Characterization factors used for computation are the ones currently available in published LCA methodologies. This first module enables the user to visualize the hotspots of the product footprint both geographically and along the value chain.
Module 2 treats specific information regarding the practices and the local context, that would enable to adjust impact computations based on information entered by the users. The development of criteria and rules to quantify the changes in impact computations are defined per type of land use (e.g. arable crops, perennial crops, grassland, mining, forest, urban….) and/or per sector (livestock, transport, electricity, construction….). Further levels of specifications could be considered in this module, especially regarding land use types, with a focus on certification schemes (such as FSC; Sustainable Rice Platform; RSPO; RTRS; Bonsucro…). Results of modules 2, additionally to the results of the Module 1, enable the user to visualize and quantify the benefits of a chosen practice/location, and compare various scenarios for a given product.
Module 3 assesses qualitatively 2 aspects that are not part of any LCA model, namely ‘invasive species’ and ‘species management’, this last one encompassing ‘overexploitation’ aspects of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, such as hunting, poaching or overfishing, but going beyond as it also includes positive actions (e.g. installation of pollinators, use of various breeds, follow up of endangered species…).