Software results: a comparison of average impacts

Using the software developed within the LIFE TTGG Project, the farmers of the Grana Padano PDO production chain can carry out environmental impact assessments and obtain an organic and objective representation of the performance related to their activity.

At the end of each assessment, the software generates a downloadable Report, allowing a detailed view of the impact data, summarized in graphs and tables: knowing some basic concepts is essential to correctly interpret these results.

Firstly, to be informative, environmental impact data must be associated with the obtaining of a specific product. In the case of the software created by the LIFE Project, the reference product corresponds to 10 g of dry matter of Grana Padano PDO cheese aged 9 months for the impacts concerning the whole production chain. The reference becomes instead 1 kg of standardized raw milk – the so-called FPCM, Fat and Protein Corrected Milk – when considering only the farm phase.

Since the impacts related to any activity occur in different ways, to characterize them it is necessary to divide them into impact indicators, each expressed with an appropriate unit of measurement. Climate change, for example, is one of the best-known indicators, and expresses the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to obtain the reference product considered.

Through mathematical operations of normalization and weighing, it is then possible to pass from the impact divided into the different indicators – nineteen in all – to the total impact, called single score. In order to make farmers aware of which aspects of their production phase contribute most to the determination of the total impact, in the Report all the activities carried out on the farm are divided into the following eight independent groups: use of water on the farm, use of energy, purchase of feed, self-production of feed, purchase of bedding materials, emissions from the management of livestock manure, emissions from enteric fermentation and emissions from farm management.

Most of the results are shown in the Report as a comparison between the average impacts of the PDO and those resulting from its own assessment, in order to deduce whether the environmental performance obtained is better, in line or worse than the average performance of the production phase considered.

Source: Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

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