Environmental life cycle assessment of nectarine as produced in Southeast Spain
The aim of this work is to evaluate the environmental performance of fruit production using Life Cycle Assessment considering the case study of nectarines produced in the Murcia Region (Southeast Spain). The investigation was carried out according to ISO 14040/14044 using a cradle to grave approach that included three stages: upstream (inputs production and crop establishment), core (agricultural phase, product processing and storage) and downstream (distribution, use phase and waste management). Modelling was carried out using Simapro v.9.1, using the EF 3.0 assessment method and considering 1 kg of fresh fruit as the functional unit. Foreground inventory data was obtained from a 405 ha plot established and run by a local company. Climate change emissions were calculated at 0.76 kg CO2 eq per functional unit. The life cycle stage called downstream is the one that generates the most impacts with 46.9 %, followed by 41.2% in upstream stage and 11.9 % in core stage. The inputs production is the substage leaders in 3 of 5 impact categories; 38.1 % in climate change, 35.3 % in acidification and 32.6 % in eutrophication. The substage of distribution lead with 48.5 % of photochemical ozone formation due to diesel consumed by refrigerated transport. The substage agriculture phase is the principal contributors in water use (depriv) with 77 % due to crop fertigation. The possibilities for implementing mitigation strategies are broad and cover the main substages of the life cycle.