Determining the key factors that contribute to the eco-efficiency level of honey production using life cycle approaches

Vasquez-Ibarra, Leonardo; Iriarte, Alfredo; Rebolledo-Leiva, Ricardo; Gonzalez-Araya, Marcela C.; Angulo-Meza, Lidia


Purpose Bees are essential to maintain the agriculture sector and provide not only pollination services, but also bee products. Honey is one of the most recognized products obtained from bees. In this sector, little attention has been paid to their environmental and economic performance, and their integration into the eco-efficiency concept. Consequently, this study analyzes the eco-efficiency level of honey production systems, identifying key resources to improve economic performance and reduce environmental impacts. Methods Eco-efficiency is assessed by means of an indicator approach defined as the ratio between environmental and economic performance. The environmental one is measured by using the life cycle assessment (LCA), while the economic one is measured through profits, combining the life cycle cost (LCC) and income. The dataset corresponds to a sample of Chilean beekeepers considering a cradle-to-gate approach. The functional unit is 1 kg of honey produced. The productive factors covered are feeds, medicines, diesel, electricity, and disposable inputs. The LCA is carried out by using the software OpenLCA, and the ReCiPe midpoint method, while background data are obtained from the Ecoinvent v3.8 database. The economic data are analyzed using MS Excel((R)). Results and discussion Feeds are identified as the main contributor to the environmental and economic impacts, mainly due to sugar rations, i.e., a mix of sugar and water. In addition, most of the beekeepers used a higher amount of sugar for preparing these rations, compared with the quantity recommended in the literature. Diesel is another important source of environmental and economic impacts for beekeepers, mainly consumed for hive visits. Thus, reducing the frequency of visits or locating hives closer to beekeepers would improve their eco-efficiency performance. Concerning medicines, oxalic acid is the main contributor to environmental impacts, while amitraz is the main responsible in terms of costs, due to the higher dose applied compared with the literature. The environmental and economic impacts of electricity and disposable inputs are negligible. Conclusions Feeds, medicines and diesel are the main contributors to the environmental and economic performance of the set of beekeepers analyzed, mainly due to the high amount consumed. Thus, focusing on these factors, beekeepers could improve their eco-efficiency performance by reducing both environmental impacts and cost, while increasing profit.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000994086900001 Not found in local WOS DB
Fecha de publicación: 2023


Notas: ISI