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Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15

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Carbon footprint of extra virgin olive oil: a comparative and driver

analysis of different production processes in Centre Italy
Claudio Pattara a, *, Roberta Salomone b, Angelo Cichelli a
Department of Economic Studies, University ‘‘G. d’Annunzio’’, viale Pindaro42, 65127 Pescara (Italy)
Department of Economics, University of Messina, Piazza S. Pugliatti 1, 98122 Messina (Italy)

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In this research, five case studies located in Abruzzo (Italy) were analysed using the Carbon Footprint
Received 2 April 2015 method aiming primarily to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions related to the cultivation of olives
Received in revised form and the production of olive oil (respectively farm phase and mill phase) and to identify the drivers
29 March 2016
behind these emissions (excluding olive tree planting and distribution phase). In respect to the existing
Accepted 29 March 2016
Available online xxx
literature, the research presented here developed more detailed collection of data on farms and selected
the case studies in order to represent the current production situation at the international level (Spain
excluded) as regards technology and size. Furthermore, an uncertainty and sensitivity analysis was
Extra virgin olive oil
performed in order to assess the robustness of results. Five litres of extra virgin olive oil, with primary
Carbon footprint and secondary packaging, were chosen as a functional unit. Results showed that agriculture accounts for
Life cycle assessment emissions of CO2eq ranging from 3.34 to 7.74 kg (mainly due to fertilizer and pesticide treatments),
Greenhouse gases followed by the packaging process in the industrial phase for which CO2eq emissions range from 1.13 kg
Climate change to 3.20 kg (for which glass bottles represent the largest load). The study revealed that a realistic
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions should be based on an efficient use of pesticides and fertilizers.
Drivers are mainly located in the farm factory phase, which is the one with the highest impact, but also
the phase that proves most difficult as regards retrieving detailed data.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction changes concerning cultivation practices, technologies of extraction

and, above all, quality improvement and selection of typical charac-
The increase of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations is teristics. In addition to those changes mainly linked to strengthening
considered the main cause of global climate change (IPCC, 2014). It the quality of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) e such as nutritional,
is increasingly accepted that of the various manufacturing activities organoleptic, hygiene and typical characteristics ethe scientific
responsible for GHG emissions, the whole agri-food supply chain is community has also tackled and analysed environmental impacts
one of the major contributors to climate change; food production related to its production with particular interest. One of the reasons
systems thus contribute a large share of anthropogenic emissions for this is that the olive oil industry is characterized by great variability
(Pelletier et al., 2013), estimated to be 19e29% of total GHG emis- deriving from different cultivation practices, production techniques
sions (Vermeulen et al., 2012). Between 80 and 86% of these and supply chain organization, as well as influences arising from local
emissions are caused by agricultural production, while the characteristics (Rinaldi et al., 2014; Salomone and Ioppolo, 2012).
remainder comes from pre-production (mainly fertilizer produc- Among the various environmental impacts, the assessment of
tion) and post-production activities, such as primary and secondary GHGs in a product life cycle perspective is a significant aspect
processing, packaging, transport, etc (Avraamides and Fatta, 2008). related to environmental issues that requires full, in-depth analysis.
One of the most important agri-food sectors in the EU is the olive In fact, numerous international organizations (Environdec, 2014)
oil industry. In recent decades, this sector has been affected by major are currently working on application rules (Product Category Rules
ePCR) for the various national standards for calculating GHG
emissions. For example, the European Commission has its Product
Environmental Footprint (PEF) project underway, while the Inter-
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ39(0)8545083222. national Olive Oil Council (IOOC) is developing a protocol for the
E-mail addresses: (C. Pattara), roberta.salomone@
quantification and subsequent certification of GHG emissions (R. Salomone), (A. Cichelli).
0959-6526/© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article in press as: Pattara, C., et al., Carbon footprint of extra virgin olive oil: a comparative and driver analysis of different
production processes in Centre Italy, Journal of Cleaner Production (2016),
2 C. Pattara et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15

generated by the production of EVOO. The IOOC and the Joint 2. Materials and Methods
Research Centre (JRC) are currently developing the Product Envi-
ronmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for olive oil, under the In the context of a dearth of application of the CF method in the
aegis of the European Commission (EC, 2013). olive oil sector, and of growing interest in these kinds of life cycle
Also on the scientific research level, a number of authors have perspective studies on climate change and a local/regional imple-
carried out Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies in the agri-food sector mentation, the present paper focuses on the results obtained by
and on the specific field of olives and olive oil production. The LCA applying the CF method to the olive oil production sector in
method was initially applied in the olive sector in the 2000s Abruzzo (Centre Italy), through a “cradle to gate” analysis which
(Salomone et al., 2015), and proved to be an effective tool on which to includes the phases of cultivation (farm factory phase) and olive oil
base operational decisions at individual farm level (Fedele et al., 2014). extraction and bottling (mill factory phase). The method used for
A recent publication reports the results of a critical review of the carrying out the study is the CF according to ISO/TS 14067: 2013
international literature (Salomone et al., 2015) in which 72 studies (ISO, 2013) and the PCR “A CPC 21537 Virgin Olive Oil And Its
were reviewed, taking into account different aspects, such as the Fractions” (Environdec, 2014). A Monte Carlo analysis was also
tool used (LCA, Simplified LCA, Carbon Footprint, Water Footprint, performed to assess the uncertainty of data for which higher
etc.) and the methodological issues. Four other papers were pub- variability was detected (in particular some specific farm processes,
lished after the literature review reported in Salomone et al., 2015: such as fertilization, transport, phytosanitary treatments, and
two apply the LCA method (Mohamad et al., 2014; Rajaeifar et al., diesel consumption for tillage processes); based on the outcome of
2014) and two refer to the Carbon Footprint (CF) method (Proietti which, a sensitivity analysis was then carried out (Huijberts et al.,
et al., 2014; Rinaldi et al., 2014). 2001; Weidema and Wesnaes, 1996).
Therefore, the literature still has few cases where the footprint
label has been applied in the olive oil sector. Indeed, at the time of 2.1. Case studies
writing this research, only five CF (Polo et al., 2010; Intini et al.,
2011; Lucchetti et al., 2012; Proietti et al., 2014; Rinaldi et al., Five case studies are considered and analysed in depth that are
2014), one Water Footprint (Salmoral et al., 2011) and one Ecolog- representative of the regional, national and other Mediterranean
ical Footprint (Scotti et al., 2009) had been published. production realities in terms of quality, quantity, cultivation, and
In respect to the existing literature, the research presented here extraction technologies. Leading producing Countries that present
developed more detailed collection of data on farms by considering similar cultivation techniques and extraction technologies are
a broader sample, and considered the current trend in technolog- Greece, Tunisia, Morocco, Argentina, and Syria; on the contrary,
ical levels for central Italy, Greece and the countries of northern other leading producing Countries which do not present these main
Africa. Indeed, the main goal of the study was to identify and assess characteristics are excluded from this relation (e.g. Spain which is
the phases and inputs with greater environmental impact of each mainly characterized by super intensive cultivation and 2-phase
system in order to identify the potential optimization options of decanter extraction technology).
EVOO production practices and the drivers behind GHG emissions. Furthermore, to represent fully the structural framework of the
In this sense the production system in Abruzzo is similar to that olive oil supply chain in Central Italy (INEA, 2014) the five mills
found in the central regions of Italy (Lazio, Tuscany, Marche, and covered by the study include three cooperatives (Case studies 3, 4,
Umbria) as regards cultivation, milling facilities, and quality of olive and 5) and two private mills (Case studies 1 and 2). In fact, about
oil, as well as to that of emerging countries (Morocco, Tunisia, 75% of the farms of NortheCentral Italy that produce olives have an
Argentina, etc.). The higher level of accuracy included the single average size of less than 5 ha and are associated with cooperatives
processes of the agricultural and industrial phases, excluding the for the processing of the olive oil (ISTAT, 2013).
distribution and end of life that are, as is known, the stages in which Therefore, the choice of case studies (in term of their charac-
quality and data accuracy are lower (Saner et al., 2012; Accorsi et al., teristics such as size, type, etc.) proportionally represents the dis-
2015; Lazarevic et al., 2010). tribution of the main characteristics of farms and mills in Abruzzo,
Further goals of the study were to increase awareness among Italy and other leading producing Countries, as highlighted in
practitioners and local stakeholders of the use of environmental Table 1.
assessment tools in order to increase attention to environmental Fig. 1 shows the localization of the case studies, while Table 2
concerns and highlight the main methodological issues related to presents in detail the characteristics of the case studies, as regards:
the application of the CF method in the specific sector of olive oil
production.  extraction technology (2-phase decanter, 3-phase decanter, and
This paper is structured as follows: pressure) e the analysed mills cover all three types of olive oil
processing systems currently used in the majority of Italian
1. Introduction, summarizing the general aim of the paper, its operating plants;
collocation in relation to the existing literature and its structure;  working capacity expressed in terms of olive milled (quintals/
2. Materials and Methods, split between the description of Case year) e the pressure system is a discontinuous cycle and
studies and of Carbon Footprint analysis (including the therefore presents working capacities lower than the centrifugal
description of the main elements of the CF analysis framework systems (2- and 3-phase decanter);
implemented: functional unit and system boundaries, inventory  size and organizational structure (large and medium-sized
analysis and impact assessment); cooperative mills and medium and small-sized private mills);
3. Results, where the Carbon Footprint results are presented;  cultivation method (conventional or organic) e three organic
4. Discussion, divided into:comparison of results with other car- productions and two conventional ones were considered. This
bon footprint studies; drivers and methodological choices choice was made to evaluate whether organic production,
affecting the impacts and uncertainty and sensitivity analysis; though representing a best practice in terms of safety of the
5. Conclusions, summarizing the main findings of the paper (both inputs used, implies more energy consumption (fuel, electricity,
in terms of identification of “hot-spots” and opportunities for etc.) due to a lower yield of product per hectare;
reductions of GHG emissions, and methodological aspect of  farming system (traditional non-irrigated) e is the same in all
applying the CF method in the olive oil production sector). the investigated realities as this is common throughout the

Please cite this article in press as: Pattara, C., et al., Carbon footprint of extra virgin olive oil: a comparative and driver analysis of different
production processes in Centre Italy, Journal of Cleaner Production (2016),
C. Pattara et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15 3

Table 1
Characteristics of the case studies in relation to the olive oil sector in Abruzzo, Italy and other leading producing Countries.

Characteristics Case studiesa Abruzzo Italy Other countriesb References

Average size of olive orchards ~75% under 1.5 ha ~80% under 1.5 ha ~90% under 1.2 ha ~70% under 3 ha IOOC, 2012
ISTAT, 2013
Planting patternc 100% traditional 95% traditional 75% traditional 95% traditional IOOC, 2012
ISTAT, 2013
Size of Mills 100% under 20q/h 70% under 20q/h 70% under 35q/h 50% under 35q/h Cimato, 2008
Pattara et al., 2010
INEA, 2014
IOOC, 2012
Type of mill (Decanter/Pressure) 80/20 60/40 65/35 60/40 Di Giovacchino and Preziuso, 2006
Cimato, 2008
IOOC, 2012
Plain/Hill/Mountain 85% Hill 67% Hill 63.9% Hill 70% Plain IOOC, 2012
12% Plain 33% Plain 35% Plain 30% Hill UNAPROL, 2010
3% Mountain 1.1% Mountain UNAPROL, 2013
Package 80% glass 44.7% glass 80% glass 60% glass IOOC, 2012
20% steel can 10.6% Steel can 11% steel can 11% iron steel UNAPROL, 2010
31.7% PET 7% PET 7% PET UNAPROL, 2013
3% other material 2% other material 2% other material UNAPROL, 2014
6% unpacked
Irrigated or dry 100% dry 94% dry 75% dry 65% dry IOOC, 2012
Farms specialized in olive production/ 56% 63% 69% 75% IOOC, 2012
Only primary data.
Greece, Tunisia, Morocco, Argentina, Syria.
Traditional ± 200 trees/ha; Intensive ± 400/500 trees/ha; super-intensive ± 1500 trees/ha.

Fig. 1. Localization of case studies.

Please cite this article in press as: Pattara, C., et al., Carbon footprint of extra virgin olive oil: a comparative and driver analysis of different
production processes in Centre Italy, Journal of Cleaner Production (2016),
4 C. Pattara et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15

region and, in general, to almost all farms of Central and 2.3. Inventory analysis
Northern Italy (dry method);
 localization of the case studies (Fig. 1) e mills were also selected Table 3 reports inventory data related to the farm factory phase
to represent different geographic characteristics, such as the and a brief description of the processes for which data was
proximity to coastal areas, and therefore to assess whether the gathered.
micro-climate might have a significant impact on the number of The tillage processes (rotary tillage, flail mower, chisel plough, disk
pesticide treatments and on GHG emissions; harrowing, harrowing) are usually performed to weed out the sea-
 type of primary and secondary packaging e four products sonal weed infestations and allow inputs of additional nutritional
packaged in glass (1 L bottles; cardboard for six) and one can (5 L elements (water and fertilizer) which can be easily absorbed by the
cans; four can carton) were included. olive trees, thus protecting soil from erosion by meteoric leaching.
Two practices have been commonly used in recent years to offset
In order to ensure the representativeness of the case studies, high fuel costs and avoid erosion processes (particularly in sloping
data concerning farm surface, surface area of olive groves, cultiva- ground): cover cropping (flail mower, two or three times a year) or
tion practices, size and type of mills, and packaging materials were green manuring. Other tillage processes are harrowing, digging,
examined. A survey to gather all the information about the different ripper, chopping, milling (fuel consumption varies from 4 to 5 L/h of
aspects was then carried out. For private mills, data was collected diesel for ripper or harrowing, to 7e9 L/h for chopping or digging).
from all the farms, on the contrary the collection of data on farms The phytosanitary and fertilization treatments include all actions
relating to the cooperative mills, considering the high number of aimed at fighting major plant pests. The treatments are generally
farms involved, was carried out through a stratified sampling. Sets carried out by using a sprayer connected to the tractor (fuel, water
of “farms” reflecting the dimension of the olive groves (values from and phytosanitary products consumption was evaluated). In con-
0 to 1 ha, 1e2 ha, 2e3 ha, 3e4 ha, 4e5 ha, from 5 to 10 ha and ventional cultivations (up to 400 plants/ha), the treatment process
>10 ha) were created. A proportional number of farms from each can be performed on average 1e1.5 h/ha. As regards fertilization
cooperative mill and from each layer (37 from Case 3, 33 from Case treatments, typically this process takes place by supplying one or
4, and 27 from Case 5) were randomly extracted. In this way, for all more nutritional elements directly on the ground or via foliar
the three cooperative mills data representing 58%e72% of the total fertilization.
area of olive groves was collected. Pruning and harvesting may be carried out with jigsaws and
beaters (pneumatic or electric), while the removal of branches is
typically performed manually. Fuel consumption for the operation
of the air compressors (for pneumatic tools) and the energy
2.2. Functional unit and system boundaries required to charge the batteries (for electric tools) was calculated.
Transport of materials and products for all the inputs of each
The functional unit (FU) is 5 L of EVOO in its primary and sec- process, from the place of purchase/production is also included in
ondary packaging. This choice was motivated by the fact that for the the inventory analysis. The fuel consumption for the transport of
examined mills the typical selling unit is a 6-bottlepackage or a 5-L olives was considered without including the wear and tear of the
steel can; in order to allow the comparative study, it was necessary vehicle; this is because the single operation of transport to the oil
to have a common FU for the five case studies. Table 2 also shows mill (typically at a distances of 2e5 km) is negligible compared to
the FU with the corresponding reference flows used in the indi- normal use of the vehicle.
vidual cases included in the study. Some processes have been omitted from the inventory of the
System boundaries, through a “cradle to gate” analysis, include farm factory phase, for the following reasons:
the phases of cultivation (farm factory phase) and olive oil extrac-
tion and bottling (mill factory phase) as described in Fig. 2: pro-  servicing of agricultural machinery e even if the replacement of
cesses within dotted line are excluded from the system boundaries. mechanical or engine oil and other spare parts could have

Table 2
Detailed characteristics of the five case studies.

Characteristics Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Case 4 Case 5

Extraction Technology Pressure Decanter (2 phases) Decanter (3 phases) Decanter (3 phases) Decanter (3 phases)
Olive milled (quintals/year) 4500 5700 12,000 9000 7000
Olive yield kg per hectare (kg/ha) 6125 7180 7092 6871 5956
Oil yield litre per hectare (L/ha) 1120.91 1345.27 1282.43 1264.92 1025.10
Mill structure and total Private (1 mill; 1 farm) Private (1 mill; 1 farm) Cooperative Cooperative Cooperative (1 mill; 137 farms)
number of farms (1 mill; 329 farms) (1 mill; 258 farms)
Farms sampled 1 1 37 33 27
Cultivation surface (ha) 120 150 270 240 190
Cultivation methods Conventional Conventional Organic Organic Organic
Farming system Traditional non-irrigatedTraditional Traditional Traditional Traditional non-irrigated
non-irrigated non-irrigated non-irrigated
Localization Ortona (CH) Moscufo (PE) Pianella (PE) Pianella (PE) Casoli (CH)
Primary Packaging Glass bottle Steel can Glass bottle Glass bottle Glass bottle
Secondary Packaging Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard Cardboard
Reference flow 5 L of conventional EVOO 5 L of EVOO in 5 L of organic EVOO PDO 5 L of organic EVOO 5 L of organic EVOO PDO in
PDO in 5 glass bottles 1 tin and ¼ of in 5 glass bottles and 1 PDO in 5 glass bottles 5 glass bottles and 1
and 1 cardboard box cardboard box cardboard box and 1 cardboard box cardboard box
Functional unit 5 L of EVOO with primary
and secondary package

PDO ¼ protected designation of origin.

EVOO ¼ Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Please cite this article in press as: Pattara, C., et al., Carbon footprint of extra virgin olive oil: a comparative and driver analysis of different
production processes in Centre Italy, Journal of Cleaner Production (2016),
C. Pattara et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15 5

Fig. 2. System boundaries for the “cradle to gate” Carbon Footprint assessment of EVOO production.

Table 3
Inventory data for the farm factory phase per 1000 kg of olives.

Process Input Unit Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Case 4 Case 5

Tillage Diesel L 11.791 7.155 9.313 10.281 13.566

Phytosanitary/fertilization treatments Fertilizer Kg NPK 15:5:5 NPK 10:12:7 Cow manure Cow manure NPK 17:5:7
Quantity Kg 13.007 9.058 149.116 139.163 14.461
Pesticide type Bordeaux Dimethoate Bordeaux Bordeaux Bordeaux
mixture mixture mixture mixture
Dimethoate. Pyrethrum Pyrethrum Dimethoate.
Quantity Kg 8.16 5.01 5.08 4.95 9.74
Water L 1017.959 328.134 307.107 434.726 1320.853
Diesel L 7.997 4.292 5.321 6.168 8.915
Pruning and harvesting Diesel L 12.802 6.542 8.780 9.106 14.342
Electricity kWh 0 2.421 0 0 0
Transport of materials and products Inputs transport to farm tkm 2.564 6.722 5.936 5.238 3.786
Olive transport to mill tkm 1.451 2.020 7.345 8.128 4.916

significant impacts, several data limitations are connected to  olive planting phase e in the traditional olive farming system
this process because farmers do not possess accurate related (density between 200 and 400 trees per hectare) the average life
data (the servicing is usually carried out by external authorized span of trees is typically more than 100 years, often reaching 150
workshops) and the use of the same machinery for all crops and or even 180 years, and all the olive groves analysed had mature
land management (therefore allocation problems may occur, and ready-for-production plants (over 30e40 years), thus the
causing a high degree of uncertainty and inaccuracy); production phase of the seedlings and the related planting

Please cite this article in press as: Pattara, C., et al., Carbon footprint of extra virgin olive oil: a comparative and driver analysis of different
production processes in Centre Italy, Journal of Cleaner Production (2016),
6 C. Pattara et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15

phase, as well as the time (4e7 years) required for the first olive (plastering or painting of walls, maintenance of pipes) is negli-
harvest, represent a small environmental burden (Salomone and gible in a life cycle perspective of EVOO;
Ioppolo, 2012; Salomone et al., 2015);  all stages following the packaging ethe authors chose not to
 irrigation e there is no irrigation of olive groves within the consider the steps of distribution and end of life as the main aim
companies analysed (dry method); of the research is to investigate in depth the comparison of the
 energy consumption related to farm infrastructure e energy agricultural and industrial phases, which are the ones that
consumption in the farm structures is negligible in a life cycle present the greater differences. On the contrary, distribution
perspective of the olive oil product, considering moreover that and consumption were assumed to present similar impacts and
the farms are not specialized in olive cultivation alone and farm were therefore excluded from the comparative assessment;
structures are often used for other purposes (Salomone et al.,  mill by-product usage e in modern technology mills, effluents
2015); from the extraction of olive oil are no longer considered waste
 land use change e it was not possible to trace land use prior to but by-products: olive mill wastewater, from pressure and 3-
olive cultivation; in addition, considering that in traditional phase decanter, can be used as fertigation through procedures
olive farming systems, land use had not changed for 100e180 and limits prescribed by law; pomace, from pressure and from3-
years at least, land use change is not a relevant impact category; phase centrifugal decanter, can be used for the extraction of the
 carbon sink e for these items and for those relating to emissions residual oil by solvent or for energy purposes; wet pomace, from
from biomass combustion (the practice of burning the pruning 2-phase centrifugal decanter, can be treated in order to extract
on the edge of the fields) the carbon, and related CO2, was the pits used for energy purposes and then undergo a process of
considered as belonging to the short carbon cycle and, as a composting, or can be spread on land as fertilizer. However,
result, not to be considered in the general CO2 budget. In the their economic value is very low (olive mill wastewater and wet
authors' opinion, this approach is more consistent with the pomace V 0/m3, pomace from pressure 3.5e4.5 V/100 kg,
original purpose of the CF method (BSI, 2011), i.e. to analyse, pomace from three-phase decanter 1.5e2.5 V/100 kg) and in the
quantify and reduce CO2 emissions related to fossil sources. This present study, similarly to some other researches (e.g. Raggi
decision is further supported by the review of Arzoumanidis et al., 2000; Salomone and Ioppolo, 2012) all the impacts were
et al., 2014, which highlighted the lack of uniformity in the allocated on EVOO (therefore using an economic allocation
application of the accounting method of biogenic CO2, and criterion) and by-products were omitted from the inventory.
found that the standards and calculation methods that assess While it may be useful, or at least desirable, to allocate the
biological CO2, include it in a inventory that differs from that of impact of the earlier stages among the various by-products of
GHG produced by other biogenic sources. the extraction process, it should be highlighted that allocation
problems could result and the issue is still under study by the
As regards the mill factory phase (Table 4), a framework for data Project on the PEFCR for olive oil (EC, 2013).
collection was created based on inspection of the mills to verify:
types of plants; layout; installed power; presence of mechanisms to The data collection process described here aimed to seek the
measure the energy used; timing and amount of maintenance greatest possible quantity of primary data in order to respond
carried out; energy bills and loads; olives processed daily and adequately to the principles required by ISO 14067 (time coverage,
during the whole milling season and milling phase; and con- geographical coverage, technology coverage, representativeness,
sumption of natural gas and fuel for forklifts. Furthermore, during relevance, completeness, consistency, accuracy and transparency,
the milling phase, a multimetre (model DMGM380001 Lovato) was and reproducibility). Double counting was avoided during the data
installed on the electrical control of the extraction plant. This collection phase. Coefficients present in the literature and com-
enabled the collection of electrical measurements for each batch of mercial databases were used (Table 5) for inputs such as electrical
olives processed (250e500 kg) for all the standard stages of pro- energy, fossil fuels and fertilizer emission.
cessing: washing and defoliation; milling; kneading; extraction (in
centrifugal decanter or traditional system); centrifugal separation 2.4. Impact assessment
of oil-water emulsion; storage tank; packaging. The average data
related to energy consumption per kg of olives treated and per kg of In compliance with the requirements of ISO 14067 (ISO, 2013),
oil extracted was considered, based on these figures. The energy the only impact category considered in this study is Global
consumption of the system was measured several times on four Warming. All GHG emissions were calculated in terms of CO2
separate days of the year and on different batches of olives. Elec- equivalence over a 100-year time horizon according to the IPCC
trical data concerning plant maintenance, energy consumption of method 2007 GWP 100 V1.02 (IPCC, 2007).
infrastructure and consumption of natural gas, Liquefied Petroleum GHG emissions per FU were first calculated for each input and
Gas(LPG) and diesel used in the company was added. Comparing then for each phase (farm factory phase and mill factory phase).
the average data (taken from electricity bills) with those collected Subsequently, the whole life cycle of each of the five case studies
in situ, it was possible to differentiate the portion attributable to were compared. Impact assessment results are presented in x 3.
activities not related to the production phase (lighting, adminis-
tration, heating, etc.), in order to exclude it. The transport data was 3. Results
collected, along with all field surveys, through questionnaires filled
out by farmers and olive oil millers. Based on these, the average Fig. 3 shows the distribution of GHG emissions associated with
data were obtained and used for the calculations. the different agricultural practices in the five case studies analysed,
Some processes of the mill factory phase have been omitted in terms of kg of CO2eq/FU and in percentage terms respectively.
from this study, for the following reasons: Plant protection treatments are the most significant item in two
farms: Case 1 (conventional cultivation) and Case 5 (organic culti-
 maintenance of mill infrastructure e was excluded in accor- vation). In these cases, it is not the cultivation method that acts as a
dance with suggestions in the literature (Ecoil, 2007; BSI, 2011; determinant but the number of treatments carried out (and thus
Salomone et al., 2015). Indeed the frequency of maintenance diesel fuel used) which counts for about 50% of the total value.
(every three or five years) and the type of maintenance Indeed, in Case 5 only a few products are used (bordeaux mixture,

Please cite this article in press as: Pattara, C., et al., Carbon footprint of extra virgin olive oil: a comparative and driver analysis of different
production processes in Centre Italy, Journal of Cleaner Production (2016),
C. Pattara et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15 7

Table 4
Inventory data for the mill factory phase per 1000 kg of olives.

Process Input Unit Case 1 Case 2 Case 3 Case 4 Case 5

Olive oil extraction Water (washing) L 15 17 119 127 100

Electricity kWh 65.892 37.785 40.083 51.148 49.614
Synthetic Rubber Kg 1.212 1.861 2.533 0.587 1.921
Stainless steel Kg 3.667 2.732 0.943 0.482 1.543
Packaging Green glass Kg 108 0 108 108 108
Aluminium cap Kg 0.770 0 0.770 0.770 0.770
non-drip spout Kg 0.157 0 0.157 0.157 0.157
Front Cardboard label Kg 0.218 0 0.218 0.218 0.218
Rear Cardboard label Kg 0.162 0 0.126 0.144 0.144
Shrink cap Kg 1.264 0 1.26 1.26 1.26
Steel can Kg 0 18.722 0 0 0
Cardboard Can label Kg 0 0.0396 0 0 0
Can plastic cap LDPE Kg 0 0.092 0 0 0
Corrugated cardboard box Kg 11.376 24.127 10.951 11.462 11.738
Adhesive tape (LDPE þ Glue) Kg 0.045 0.0648 0.045 0.045 0.045
LLDPE film Kg 0.324 0.185 0.356 0.332 0.345
Pallet Kg 5.987 3.318 6.134 6.211 6.067
Transport of materials Input transport to mill tkm 1.456 2.027 1.323 1.894 2.234

Table 5
Data sources.

Life cycle phase Sub process Process Data sources

Farm factory phase Fertilization Fertilizer production transport, field emission Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Diesel production, transport and combustion Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Fertilizer spreading Measured data
Amount of fertilizer used Measured data
Pest treatment Pesticides production transport Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Pesticides spreading Measured data
Amount of pesticides used Measured data
Diesel production, transport and combustion Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Amount of diesel used Measured data
Harvesting Electricity production, transport and loss Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Amount of diesel used Measured data
Diesel production, transport and combustion Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Tillage (rotary tillage, Diesel production, transport and combustion Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
flail mower, chisel Amount of diesel used Measured data
plough, disk harrowing, harrowing)
Pruning Electricity production, transport and loss Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Amount of electricity used Measured data
Diesel production, transport and combustion Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Amount of diesel used Measured data
Transport to olive mill Diesel production, transport and combustion Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Distance Measured data
Amount of diesel used Measured data
Mill factory phase Extraction of olive oil Amount of electricity used Measured data
Electricity production, transport and loss Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Amount of water used Measured data
Amount of olive milled Measured data
Amount of olive oil extracted Measured data
Packaging Amount of electricity used Measured data
Packaging materials, production Ecoinvent, 2010;  Consultants, 2014
Packaging materials, transport Measured data
Amount of packaging materials used Measured data

copper sulphate, etc.), but in larger quantities (10e15 kg/ha) to efficiency of such machinery. The operations most affected by low
those used for plant protection products (1.00e1.5 L/ha) in con- energy efficiency are, of course, the ones that are most energy
ventional agriculture. This factor, as well as the higher number of intensive (phytosanitary treatments, chopping, digging), which are
treatments carried out in organic agriculture (20e30% compared to associated with higher emissions per hectare and therefore per
the conventional system), causes an increase in the impacts asso- kilogramme of olives and oil produced. New tractors, which are on
ciated with the plant protection phase. average more powerful and show lower consumption for the same
On the contrary, fertilization treatments are significant con- worked surface compared to obsolete models, allow a lower
tributors to GHG emissions in all five case studies, followed by amount of emissions per kg of olives produced.
mowing and disk harrowing. The harvesting and transport of the olives to the mill factory
Another factor to consider regards the energy efficiency of the account for between 5% and about 16% of the total emissions of the
agricultural machinery used in the farm factory phase, where farm factory phase, depending mainly on the level of automation
tractors and related tools are on average 15/20 years old. This has a (and thus energy consumption) of collection (viable through
highly significant impact on emissions given the reduced energy pneumatic or electric equipment) and the quantity of olives

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Fig. 3. GHG emissions in the farm factory phase (kg of CO2eq/FU.).

transported at each trip to the mill. Case 2 showed lower values for to the traditional extraction system (1.095 kg CO2eq). This is
this aspect, associated with the use of electrical machinery for the because this extraction system works with a limited quantity of
harvest and management of the aerial part of plants and particularly olives at a time (200e300 kg) and, even if the power of the ma-
efficient transport of olives to the mill (maximizing the ratio of olives chinery installed is lower (about 30 kW for the pressure mill
transported per trip). On the other hand, the worst cases were the system versus 60/100 kW for centrifugal decanter), the energy
cooperative mills (Cases 3, 4 and 5) with farms that resisted auto- consumption per kg of extracted oil is greater for the pressure mill
mation and technological innovation thus affecting the impacts system.
related to the consumption of diesel fuel (tractors and machinery For the packaging process, the emission values are similar for
used to produce compressed air for pneumatic saws and harvesters). glass packaging (common to four of the analysed cases), as the
As far as green manure is concerned, faba beans were only sowed bottles are analogous in weight and material; the only difference
in very few cases among the companies considered and therefore do occurs for Case 2 in which 5-L steel containers are used (0.104 kg/L
not appear in Fig. 3. In any case, it should be highlighted that this of olive oil against 0.605 kg of glass for 1 L of olive oil). This allows
agricultural practice plays an important role in term of atmospheric a substantial saving in terms of CO2 emissions (about 0.417 kg
nitrogen fixation in ground. A continual use of this farming practice CO2eq for the 5 L steel container and 0.298 kg CO2 for the 1 L glass
would enable avoidance of nitrogen fertilizers (by the contribution bottle).
of about 50e150 kg N/ha, 10-35 P2O5, K2O 30-120) and permit Table 6 summarizes the total GHG emissions of the five case
optimum management of the weed species (which do not grow studies.
when faba beans are present). Furthermore, energy consumption
per hectare for this practice is attributable to operations such as
seeding, mulching and digging, for a total quantity of diesel con-
sumption ranging from 30 to 45 L/ha and related emissions ranging 4. Discussion
from 130 to 180 kg CO2eq/ha. These values are remarkably lower
than those of conventional management, which envisages fertil- Results show that the CF varies between 4.48 kg and 10.1 kg
ization with synthetic products and mechanical weed management. CO2eq for FU. The wide range of these values is related to the fact
Conventional management involves diesel consumption of about that the five case studies refer to different agricultural practices and
25e35 L/ha for weed control and 3e7 L/ha for spreading fertilizer, to different extraction technologies. The highest value (10.1 kg CO2eq)
which the emissions related to the production and use of fertilizer is that of Case 5, mainly due to the contribution of the farm factory
(which vary according to the composition) must then be added. phase and, within this, to the phytosanitary treatments.
Values range from 0.9 to 2.8 kg CO2/kg product for the production of The lowest value (4.4 kg CO2eq) is that recorded by Case 2; this
a generic NPK 15:15:15, and about 2.5 kg N2O per 100 kg of N used on result depends both on the agronomic management (use of elec-
the ground (Ecoinvent, 2007; IPCC, 2006). trical machineries for the harvest and management of aerial part of
Fig. 4 shows the distribution of GHG emissions associated with plants) and to the mill factory phase (two-phase decanter and use
the different mill factory processes in the five case studies analysed, of the 5-L steel tin as primary packaging).
respectively in kg of CO2eq/FU and in percentage terms. The other investigated cases (1, 3, and 4) are fairly similar for the
Only minor differences between the various cases can be farm factory phase, whereas Case 1 differs appreciably for the mill
highlighted for the mill factory phase; the highest value is linked factory phase (using the pressure system).

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4.1. Comparison of results with other carbon footprint studies Table 6

Total GHG emissions of the five case studies (kg of CO2eq/FU.).

As mentioned above, at the time of writing this research, five Farm factory phase Mill factory phase kg CO2eq/FU
previous CF in the olive oil sector had been published. CASE 1 65.97% 34.03% 9.41
Polo et al. (2010) analyse two types of product olive oil (con- CASE 2 74.66% 25.34% 4.48
ventional 5-L packaging in PET bottles and “ecological” 1-L glass CASE 3 67.29% 32.71% 7.37
bottle). Although data on the production phases was not reported, a CASE 4 65.66% 34.34% 7.63
CASE 5 76.63% 23.37% 10.10
comparison can be attempted: the CF value for the conventional
olive oil (5.495 kg CO2eq) and for the ecological olive oil (1.140 kg
CO2eq) is in line with the results of the present study.
Intini et al. (2011) carried out an assessment of the benefits as already mentioned earlier, can be explained by a particularly
arising from the possible use of de-oiled pomace for energy re- efficient management of the olive orchard using the latest gener-
covery. This analysis is thorough and clearly shows what GHG ation machinery.
emissions could be avoided if all the de-oiled pomace was not Rinaldi et al. (2014) report a value of 17.53 kg CO2 eq/L for the
destined for residential users (as happens today) but rather to entire life cycle of the product EVOO. This value seems particularly
electricity and heat production plants; unfortunately our work does high and, even if we consider only the steps in common with our
not cover the phases of olive oil use and end of life of the by- study (7.88 kg CO2 eq/L), the value of GHG emitted appears much
products, so a comparison cannot be made. higher than those obtained in our cases (from 0.88 kg CO2 eq/L for
Lucchetti et al. (2012) analyse only the packaging phase and Case 2e2.2 kg CO2 eq/L for Case 5). This extreme difference is to be
quantify emissions as 22 gCO2eq/kg of olive oil worked. It can be found mainly in the yield per hectare (particularly low in the case
seen that in our study the emissions deriving from the industrial studied by Rinaldi et al., :1548 kg/ha), compared to the case studies
phase range from 1.14 (Case 2) to 3.20 kg CO2eq for UF (for other analysed in this paper (about 6500 kg/ha).
cases studies). The value of Lucchetti, as specified in the work, A summary of the comparison of the results of the five inves-
derives from an analysis of average data obtained by calculating the tigated case studies with the previous CF analyses, is presented in
ratio between the total amount of packaged oil and the total con- Table 7. In addition to these few CF studies, it is also interesting to
sumption of electricity and natural gas. This thus neglects all the cite a recent LCA applied in the olive oil sector (Rajaeifar et al., 2014)
packaging input and the extraction process which, in the present which reports a low yield of the crop (slightly over 3000 kg/ha of
case study, cannot be considered separately from the entire pack- olives and 620 kg/ha of olive oil) and a considerable amount of
aging phase. fertilizers used (about 1300 kg/ha). This significantly affects the
Proietti et al. (2014) analyse the first ten years of activity of an value of the final CF (although the packaging process is not
olive grove considering only the agricultural phase; the first two included) that reaches approximately 2 kgCO2eq/L of olive oil; this
years are the most impactful (16.578 tCO2e/hectare for the first and value is similar to the olive oils considered in the present study
2.892 tCO2eq/ha for the second) and the impact then stabilizes at a (which however include primary and secondary packaging).
value of about 1.5 tCO2eq/ha. Although they cannot refer to the The review above highlights the fact that no CF studies have
production of olives, the results obtained in Proietti et al. (2014) are previously been done to comprehensively analyse the most im-
consistent with those of the present study (1391.04 kg CO2/ha Case pactful sub-processes of life cycle stages of olive oil; it is, however,
1; 1473.01 kg CO2/ha Case 3; 1267.44 CO2/ha Case 4; 1586.85 CO2/ clear that the data from this study are consistent with those of
ha Case 5), with the only exception of Case 2 (899.98 Kg CO2/a) that, previous studies.

Fig. 4. GHG emissions in the mill factory phase (kg of CO2eq/FU.).

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Table 7
Comparison of results with other Carbon Footprint studies.

Agricultural stage kgCO2eq Industrial phase kgCO2eq Total kgCO2eq

CASE 1 6.20 3.20 9.40

CASE 2 3.34 1.14 4.48
CASE 3 4.96 2.41 7.37
CASE 4 5.01 2.62 7.63
CASE 5 7.74 2.36 10.10
Polo et al., 2010 n.a. n.a. 5.495a
Lucchetti et al., 2012 n.a. 22c n.a.
Proietti et al., 2014 16.57d n.a. n.a.
Rinaldi et al., 2014 3.24 4.64 7.88e
Rajaeifar et al., 2014 2.02 0.10 2.12e

n.a. ¼ not available.

5 L PET bottle.
1 L glass bottle.
gCO2eq/kg of olive oil worked.
tCO2eq/ha (I -II -III year).
1 Litre.

4.2. Drivers and methodological choices affecting the impacts farming is associated with lower GHG emissions. It is therefore
necessary to further study this issue in future studies, paying
As specified in the goal and scope, the CF analysis performed particular attention to other factors such as the localization and
also aims to identify drivers affecting the impacts. The hypothetical the technological level of the machinery used;
drivers identified were: technology, localization, cultivation  productivity e olive yield (kg/ha) and oil yield (L/ha) e the method
method, protection, farm/mill structure and packaging material. of production and other agricultural and technological variables
Results highlighted the following aspects: significantly affect the yield of olives per hectare and olive oil
yield. These two variables, in turn, weigh significantly on the
 technology e extraction technology is an important driver in the total balance of GHG. Yields of 5000 kg/ha of olives and
life cycle of EVOO. Indeed the value of about 1.1 kg CO2eq/FU extraction yields of 12% imply that the total GHG ought to be
related to the traditional extraction system is almost double allocated to 600 kg of olive oil. Years when olive production
compared to other extraction systems (centrifugal extraction reaches 9000 kg/ha and yields of extraction are 16% imply that
technology). In this sense it is necessary to clarify that in recent the total GHG ought to be allocated to 1360 kg of olive oil. From
years the pressure systems are ever lower and smaller in size. this it can be noted that the production yield significantly in-
This process of replacement has been widespread in Spain since fluences the CF of the end product, even with variations in the
the ‘70sas well as spreading to southern Italy and northern Af- order of 100%;
rica in the last 20 years, though to a lesser extent. The more  organization of the farm/mill structure e the results reveal that
limited diffusion of this technology can be explained by an un- Case 2 (private) is the one that has the lowest GHG balance (for
willingness to innovate in the olive oil extraction sector of Italy, both phases), while the other private mill (Case 1) has higher
Greece and North Africa where there is generally a low level of values, mainly in the phases of disease treatment, chopping
mechanization, a low agricultural income related to olive weeds and harvest time. On the contrary, the type of organiza-
growing and a limited average surface area of farms; tion (private or cooperative chain) represents an important
 localization of production areas e case studies located in the variable for the proper management of the mill factory phase. In
province of Pescara (Cases 2, 3, and 4) have lower emissions in fact, a cooperative chain that often relies on a large number of
the farm factory phase due to a lower number of disease farm members and very large volumes of olives, is able to find
treatments. This is because in the other cases (1 and 5) meteo- funding to keep up to date with technological innovations in the
rological conditions favoured the development of pests; indeed, sector, unlike some smaller private mills that still use pressure
from the interviews carried out, it emerged that climatic factors systems that are technologically obsolete because these farms
(rainfall, temperature, etc.) greatly affected the operating pa- do not have the funds to upgrade plants. From the point of view
rameters by creating suitable conditions for the development of of GHG emissions, the lack of technological upgrading and less
plant diseases. This clearly highlights the fact that climatic than full volume processing usually means increases in emis-
conditions are one of the main drivers of GHG emissions sions per volume of olive oil produced (the difference between
because they strongly affect the number of phytosanitary pressure systems and centrifugal decanter is a notable amount,
treatments carried out, as well as the consumption of diesel and while it is smaller for a simple technology upgrade). It should be
related input. Unfortunately, variables related to climatic con- stressed, however, that the organization of the supply chain in
ditions remain an element of natural stress that cannot be the private mill cases provides a vertical integration enabling
effectively managed in the short term for GHG emissions management of the farm and mill factory phases and this allows
mitigation; a more professional management of cropland, which could
 cultivation method (organic vs conventional) e organic farming make it possible to minimizeGHG emissions, especially in the
does not present any advantage in reducing GHG emissions. This farm factory phase;
achievement differs basically from the results of other studies  packaging e packaging (primary and secondary) has a great
(Romani et al., 2004; Cecchini et al., 2005; Olivieri et al., 2005; influence on the total amount of GHG within the life cycle of the
Neri et al., 2012) in which the production under organic olive oil; it can represent up to 3.08 kg CO2eq. In this sense, the

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type of material (glass, tin) is the key driver in terms of related addition, a new hypothesis of packaging (bag in box) was tested
emissions. For a product such as EVOO, which has low produc- with the sensitivity analysis, because this parameter can be easily
tion yields per hectare and low yields of extraction of oil from managed by practitioners and local stakeholders.
olives, being able to have primary packaging with a reduced In particular, the following changes were considered for each
emission of GHG could provide an important strategic advan- case study for the sensitivity analysis:
tage. However, packaging is a key factor in terms of marketing
and sales, and for this reason is often considered as the last part a) variation of (±) 20% on diesel consumption-the increased
of the product to be of interest for possible reduction options; efficiency has been contemplated assuming the use of trac-
 carbon sink and short term carbon balance e there have been tors having lower fuel consumption;
numerous studies in the olive oil sector (Arzoumanidis et al., b) different packaging for all products (bag in box) e the
2014) aimed to quantify a value for carbon storage in the soil, packaging requires the use of a containment cardboard
but so far they have not been exhaustive and have been unable (0.218 kg) and a metallic polylaminate bag (0.014 kg) inclu-
to consider all possible variables affecting the value of the sive of the olive oil dispenser. In this case, we forecast that
accumulation of carbon by olive groves. However, the impor- the packaging phase will be the same in both processes;
tance of CO2 management and its accounting for assessing the c) different transport distance e variations that meet the range
carbon footprint of a product or process is clear. In fact, being encountered in the data collection phase were assumed;
able to account the stocks of carbon in the soil or the classifi- d) different fertilization strategies -the amount of fertilizer has
cation of some stocks of CO2 as belonging to the short cycle, may been varied in a range of ± 20%;
make it possible to discount certain stocks (precisely because of e) different phytosanitary treatment strategies e the hypothe-
a short cycle) or to have a positive balance (carbon sink) to ses involved the change in the amount of pesticides used
calculate the carbon footprint. However, only a direct and by ± 20%.
continuous measurement (through coring and subsequent
chemical analysis) would provide significant results. Further- The sensitivity results showed that with respect to the variable
more, there are also aspects that are not clear regarding the “diesel consumption”, the variation of emissions due to the one-
possible negative changes in soil carbon content, in part field activities is about 10%e25%, while the contribution to total
resulting from a change in land use or from incorrect manage- emissions is about 10%. From this we can see that the contribution
ment, thus uncertainties still remain about the most suitable of emissions from fossil fuels account for about 35%e50% of the
ways to record and account them. total. In this sense, therefore, a hypothetical reduction of 30% on
fuel consumption would theoretically produce a 15% reduction in
total emissions. The change in package would result in a strong
4.3. Uncertainty and sensitivity analysis reduction of the emission associated with the packaging phase
(from 35% to 76%), and also reductions of emissions related to
The robustness of the results was assessed through an uncer- the transport of inputs (due to the lower weight of packaging
tainty analysis (Weidema and Wesnaes, 1996; Huijiberts et al., transported from the production site to the packaging site). In
2001); it focused on the agricultural phase as this is the one with relation to different fertilization strategies, changes in total emis-
greatest impact and with higher variability of data among the case sions are of modest proportions, ranging from 11% to þ10%. In
studies considered. The uncertainties and variations in the data of fact, although the quantity of fertilizer used varied between 20%
the main farm processes (for which higher variability was detected and þ20%, related emissions showed a variation between 77%
during data gathering) have been analysed by a Monte Carlo and þ60%. This magnification is mainly due to the multiplier effect
Simulation procedure using SimaPro 8.0.1software.The processes that the N2O emission has in the atmosphere; in fact, it has an
with higher variations were: fertilization, transport (of inputs to emission coefficient nearly three hundred times greater than CO2.
farm and of olives to mill), phytosanitary treatments, and diesel Similarly, there was an increase in emissions from the olive harvest,
consumption for tillage processes. In reference to the variables on caused by the increased productivity of olive groves. This same
distance (transport inputs to the company and transport of olives to effect partly mitigates the total emissions, since a greater GHG
the mill)a uniform distribution was chosen because, from the sur- emission (caused by fertilization) was accompanied by a higher
veys done, it was seen that within the range of transport distances, productivity of the olive grove which reduced the value of GHG per
the probability of travelling a short distance was equal to that of litre of olive oil produced, with variations from þ8% to þ12%. The
travelling further. A normal distribution was chosen for plant pro- same situation occurs when the quantity of fertilizers is reduced, an
tection treatments, diesel consumption for tillage and fertilization, action that negatively influences the productivity of olives per
centred on the measurement average because it was considered hectare. In this case, there is a decrease in total GHG ranging
impossible for this type of operation to have a random distribution from 8% to 15%. As regards the plant protection treatments, the
(uniform) as it must tend to an average value established by the quantity of products used in the treatment of plant diseases (not
correct agronomic practices. The simulation was performed with an reducing the number of treatments will not interfere with the
iteration of the independent variables for 10,000 cases and with a defence plan of plant disease) were reduced. The variation of ± 20%
confidence interval of 95%. Table 8 reports values for the average, produces a variation of emissions of between þ16% and 13%.There
maximum, minimum, standard deviation and coefficient of varia- is even a slight variation linked to the transport of the products, the
tion derived from Monte Carlo simulations: for each case study, the range is between ± 7%. All these changes represent only very low
coefficient of variation is particularly high for factors relating to values (±0.05%) on total emissions.
transportation (of the inputs to the farm and of olives to the mill) A variation in the distances related to transport (olives and other
and, to a lesser degree, to fertilization processes, plant treatments inputs) has an almost imperceptible influence, causing variations of
and diesel consumption. Although according to the results of less than 1%on total emissions. Considering that transport distance
Monte Carlo analysis, important uncertainties are associated was the parameter showing higher uncertainties from Monte Carlo
mainly with transport processes, the other parameters were not results, and that its variations cause only minor changes on total
neglected (considering their significant role in farming) and a emissions, the effect of this uncertainty on the results and the final
sensitivity analysis was carried out independently for all of them. In outcome of this study is very limited.

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Table 8
Monte Carlo analysis on main farm processes.

Fertilizing Input transport Olives transport Phytosanitary treatments Diesel consumption on tillage process

Case 1 Av 13.01 2.56 1.45 8.16 11.79

min 12.81 1.83 1.12 7.56 9.46
Max 13.46 2.73 3.01 9.87 12.87
stdDev 0.46 0.64 0.52 0.35 0.69
CV 3.53% 24.82% 36.14% 4.25% 5.88%
Case 2 Av 9.06 6.72 2.02 5.01 7.16
min 8.66 5.43 1.87 4.52 5.91
Max 9.78 7.86 3.99 6.37 8.63
stdDev 0.79 1.72 0.51 0.52 0.82
CV 8.77% 25.56% 25.13% 10.47% 11.44%
Case 3 Av 149.12 5.94 7.35 5.08 9.31
min 100.56 1.15 0.58 3.95 7.83
Max 168.35 9.36 12.34 5.91 10.87
stdDev 17.86 2.16 3.07 0.49 0.80
CV 11.97% 36.34% 41.81% 9.61% 8.58%
Case 4 Av 139.16 5.24 8.13 4.95 10.28
min 95.86 0.35 0.35 3.97 8.76
Max 178.32 12.36 11.23 5.78 12.96
stdDev 21.21 3.72 2.71 0.49 1.23
CV 15.24% 70.96% 33.34% 9.88% 11.93%
Case 5 Av 14.46 3.79 4.92 8.92 13.57
min 9.87 0.45 1.78 7.29 11.77
Max 17.59 8.45 10.73 10.24 15.39
stdDev 2.03 2.19 2.91 0.90 1.07
CV 14.03% 57.81% 59.13% 10.12% 7.92%

In summary, the above-mentioned sensitivity analysis (Fig. 5) steel, plastic or laminated materials) often affects the final account
indicates that a variation in the consumption of diesel fuel produces of CO2. The use of 5-L tin cans makes it possible to significantly
a reduction in emissions of around 10%, whereas a change in lower impact compared to glass containers and would permit a
packaging (from glass bottle or steel tin to bag in box) resulted in reduction of 2 or 3 kg of CO2 eq. compared to the other case studies.
reductions of overall emissions in all cases (from 5% for Case 2
to 20%for Case 3). 5. Conclusions
Finally, the analysis of drivers affecting the impacts and the
sensitivity analysis results allowed us to draw up a hypothetical The calculation of CF for the case studies presented here allowed
“best-in-class” case study, which embodies all the processes with us to draw several considerations, both regarding the environ-
lower GHG emissions. Specifically, this scenario includes: mental optimization of the olive oil supply chain and the applica-
tion of the CF method in the olive oil production sector.
- for the farm factory phase e reduced use of mechanical working As regards the environmental improvement of the olive oil
of land and use of cover cropping; use of the flail mower and supply chain, the results enabled us to identify “hot-spots” and
disk harrowing for soil management and weed control; con- opportunities for reductions in GHG emissions. In particular, the
ventional phytosanitary treatments to fight disease in the olive phytosanitary and fertilization treatments are predominantly
grove; management of the aerial part and harvesting phase responsible for GHG emissions and they often represent greater
using electrical equipment; distance between farm and mill loads than mechanical work, ranging from 1.07 to 3.2 kg CO2/FU. On
below 3 km; the other hand, energy efficiency of mechanical equipment repre-
- for the mill factory phase e use of two-phase decanter to extract sents a key item that should be carefully controlled because it en-
the oil, packaging in 5-L tin can (4 cans per carton). ables cuts in emissions and an increase in the quality of the olives
produced. Similarly, if olive tree pruning is properly managed and
Fig. 6 compares the “Best-in-class” scenario with the five case mechanized, it can lead to significant benefits in both CO2 balance
studies. In the hypothetical scenario, the specialization of the (a by-product that could be allocated as part of productive inputs)
company (which produces only olive oil) and the vertical integra- and economic gain (production of heat at low cost in the farm
tion of the company (agricultural and olive oil extraction phase buildings). Hot-spots for each case study were identified, mainly
under the leadership of a single entity) enable greater efficiency focused on plant protection treatments, fertilizers and packaging.
through better organization the work. Furthermore, it may make it Furthermore, a number of drivers affecting the impacts were
possible to achieve the economies of scale and scope required to identified: climatic conditions that determine the number of phy-
maintain technologically up-to-date machinery. It is worth recall- tosanitary treatments; technological factors that affect the energy
ing that the traditional cultivation system provides low yields of efficiency of operations in the olive orchard and in the industrial
olives per hectare (from 5000 kg to 7500 kg) and requires a phase, and material used for packaging. These results allowed us to
considerable use of manual labour in the pruning and harvesting draw up a sort of low-carbon guideline that included the identified
phases. The introduction of automation at some steps (especially opportunities for GHG emissions reduction that are summed up in
during the harvesting phase) allows a drastic reduction of the la- a hypothetical best-in-class case study which would permit a
bour force and simultaneously an improvement in the quality of reduction of 2e3 kg of CO2eq compared to the best case study of the
harvested olives (which may be collected at exactly the right period five analysed here and of about 5.76 kg of CO2eq compared to worst
and sent to the mill as rapidly as possible). The packaging has, as for one. The methods for assessing the quality of data allowed us to
many other food products (wine, beer, preserves, etc.), an impor- make important considerations on the most impactful phases and
tant impact on emissions. The material used (glass, aluminium, tin, inputs and to conclude that a vertical organization of the olive oil

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C. Pattara et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15 13

Fig. 5. Sensitivity analysis.


kg CO2eq/FU
10.000 kg CO2eq/FU

7.73 kg CO2eq/FU
8.000 3.20 kg CO2eq/FU
Mill factory phase

Farm factory phase

2.41 2.62
4.48 4.43
kg CO2eq/FU kg CO2eq/FU

4.000 1.13 7.74 1.14

4.96 5.01
3.34 3.20

CASE 1 CASE 2 CASE 3 CASE 4 CASE 5 Best in class

Fig. 6. Best-in-class scenario (kg of CO2eq/FU).

supply chain could bring important benefits in reducing emissions. reorganized so as to be consistent with the required format.
This is confirmed by the best-in-class scenario that includes many There was also a lack of data for single processes and sub-
existing elements of a private mill. processes on the farm, and a general lack of knowledge of the
Moreover, three main issues could be highlighted relating to the CF method, which made it even more difficult to obtain data. In
methodological aspect of applying the CF method in the olive oil respect to the existing literature, the research presented here
production sector: had more detailed collection of data on farms, but future
research in this field should improve the availability of this kind
 lack of context-specific data with a suitable level of detail for of data;
each process and sub-process e there was a certain difficulty in  difficulties in the quantification of carbon storage within the soil
retrieving data, especially for the farm factory phase. In fact, the and tree structures e carbon stored in the aerial structures of
process of interviews and data collection was lengthy as the the olive tree belongs to the short carbon cycle (pruning of the
analysed sample was quite large and the data had to be branches is done every 1e2 years), while carbon stored in the

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14 C. Pattara et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production xxx (2016) 1e15

roots and that accumulated in the soil can fall within the long- Huijberts, M.A.J., Norris, G., Bretz, R., Ciroth, A., Maurice, B., Von Bahr, B., et al., 2001.
Framework for modeling data uncertainty in life cycle inventories. Int. J. LCA 6
term carbon cycle (especially where the average life of a tree
(3), 127e132.
reaches and exceeds 100 years) and, in this context, quantifying INEA e Istituto Nazionale di Economia Agraria, 2014. Indicazioni per la valutazione
and accounting carbon matter in the total GHG emissions still del rischio di frodi e indirizzo delle attivita’ di controllo nel settore olivicolo-
appears difficult and subject to a high amount of uncertainty. oleario. Rapporti. INEA 2014.
Intini, F., Kühtz, S., Rospi, G., 2011. Energy recovery of the solid waste of the olive oil
Further analysis is recommended to obtain robust and exhaus- industriese LCA analysis and carbon footprint assessment. J. Sustain. Energy &
tive data on these aspects; Environ. 2, 157e166.
 need to improve the understanding of the role of climatic con- IOOC e International Olive Oil Council, 2012. Overview of the Olive and Olive Oil
Sector Itemised by Country and Based on the Official Replies to IOC Question-
ditions on the number of phytosanitary treatments e in the CF naires, 17 October 2012.
method this should be reflected by using GHG estimation 136-country-profiles.
techniques incorporating climate factors and by considering IPCC e Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2006. Guidelines for National
Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
temporal boundaries including a proper number of years (at IPCC e Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. In: Solomon, S., Qin, D.,
least for multi-annual crops such as olive groves, vineyards and Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K.B., Tignor, M., Miller, H.L. (Eds.),
orchards) in order to take into account the variability in yields Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. Cambridge University Press,
per hectare and the influence of weather conditions on the
Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
number and type of pesticide treatments. IPCC e Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014. In: Pachauri, R.K.,
Meyer, L.A. (Eds.), Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of
Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergov-
Finally, with reference also to the PEFCR project, it can be said
ernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team. IPCC, Geneva,
that the present study has reaffirmed the need for a data collection Switzerland, p. 151.
phase (especially for the agricultural phase) that is as clear and ISO e International Organization for Standardization, 2013. ISO/TS 14067:2013
extensive as possible. It is the most impactful phase, which presents Greenhouse Gasesdcarbon Footprint of Productsdrequirements and Guide-
lines for Quantification and Communication. The International Organization for
the greatest difficulties given its duration (about 10 months), its Standardization, Geneva.
heterogeneity (consumption of chemicals, fuel consumption, ISTAT, Istituto nazionale di statistica, 2013. Atti del 6 Censimento Generale del-
alternating operators of agricultural machinery), and the great in- l'Agricoltura. ISTAT, ISBN 978-88-458-1779-3.
Lazarevic, D., Aoustin, E., Buclet, N., Brandt, N., 2010. Plastic waste management in
fluence related to the territorial context (e.g. for climate conditions, the context of a European recycling society: comparing results and un-
impacts distribution). certainties in a life cycle perspective. Resour. Conservation Recycl. ISSN: 0921-
3449 55 (2), 246e259. December 2010.
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per la produzione di olio. In: Paper presented at the VI Convegno della Rete
Italiana LCA “Dall’Analisi del Ciclo di Vita all’impronta Ambientale” Bari.
Supplementary data related to this article can be found at http:// Mohamad, R.S., Verrastro, V., Cardone, G., Bteich, M.R., Favia, M., Moretti, M., Roma, R., 2014. Optimization of organic and conventional olive agricultural
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