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An Intergrated Sustainability Assessment of the Swedish Sugar Production System from a Life-Cycle Perspective: 2003-2015

Author(s): Barry Ness

Journal: Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems
ISSN 1334-4684

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: sustainability assessment | sugar | Sweden | life-cycle perspective | STELLA software

The article presents a sustainability assessment of the beet-to-sugar production system in Sweden from 2003 until 2015. It focuses on the life-cycle phases of beet growing, beet transport and sugar processing. Based on the Swedish sustainable development strategy, eight indicators in environmental and socio-economic domains based significantly on EU price and production quota changes are assessed. The study also appraises the autumn wheat-to-flour production system as an alternative scenario to provide a better understanding of the overall impacts on the region of the effects of the EU price and quota changes. The method used is a system analysis (simulation) model developed with the software STELLA 9.1. The study is a part of a broader regional sustainability assessment that focuses on the sugar sector in Sweden. Model results of the combined sugar and flour systems show general declines in agricultural landscape diversity and revenues earned in the region with only slight decreases in the number of full-time jobs in the region. Results also reveal decreases in the amount of nutrient runoff, fossil fuel energy use, greenhouse gas releases and field chemical use, with more substantial decreases in biodiversity via the suspension of organic beet growing in the region.

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