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Identifying sustainability issues for soymeal and beef production chains

By F. P. Kamali, M. P. M. Meuwissen, I. J. M. de Boer, H. Stolz, I. Jahrl, S. V. Garibay, R. Jacobsen, T. Driesen, A. G. J. M. Oude Lansink

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The expansion of livestock production throughout the world has led to increased demand for high protein animal feed. This expansion has created economic benefits for livestock farmers and other actors in the chain, but also resulted in environmental and social side effects. This study aims to identify a set of sustainability issues that cover the environmental, economic and social dimensions of soymeal and beef production chains. The method applied combines the results of multiple studies, including a literature review and stakeholder surveys. Stakeholder surveys were conducted for three different interest groups (business, consumers, and other stakeholders) and two geographical regions (Latin America and the European Union). Our results reveal that the selection of issues in most sustainability assessment studies is a relatively arbitrary decision, while the literature also states that identifying issues is an important step in a sustainability assessment. Defining sustainability issues from a whole chain perspective is important, as issues of sustainability emerge at various stages along the production chain, and are found to vary across stakeholders' interests. Business stakeholders, for example, perceived economic issues to be more important, whereas the majority of consumer stakeholders and other stakeholders perceived social and environmental issues, respectively, to be more important. Different education levels, knowledge, and living patterns in various geographical regions can affect the stakeholders' perceptions. The combination of a heterogeneous group of stakeholders and the consideration of multiple chain stages constitutes a useful approach to identify sustainability issues along food chains.

Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 27
Issue 6
Pages 949-965
ISBN/ISSN 0893-4282
Publisher Springer
DOI 10.1007/s10806-014-9510-2
Language English
Author Address Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, 6700 EW Wageningen,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animals
  3. Attitudes
  4. Bovidae
  5. Cattle
  6. Economics
  7. Environment
  8. Europe
  9. Feeds
  10. Foraging
  11. Latin America
  12. Mammals
  13. Meat animals
  14. natural resources
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. Ruminants
  17. social impact
  18. Social psychology and social anthropology
  19. Soybeans
  20. stakeholders
  21. sustainability
  22. ungulates
  23. United States of America
  24. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed