Which protein source is more environmentally sustainable: chicken, tofu, or salmon? What processes in a food company’s supply chain should be targeted to reduce energy use and costs? How would shifting to nationally recommended diets impact the environment? These are a few examples of the myriad questions that can be addressed with life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is a tool in the field of industrial ecology that quantifies the resource use and emissions of a product or system along its entire life cycle, from raw material extraction to final disposal. A central objective of this method is informing evidence-based decision-making toward sustainability by policy makers, NGOs, companies, and individuals. This course covers the intellectual foundations of LCA and provides hands-on experience applying the tool, with a focus on topics, data sources, and methodological issues relevant to food and agriculture.
Class will meet in Jaharis 118 for the Spring 2019 semester except on April 3 when class will meet in Sackler 507.