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Regular Articles

Vol. 23 No. 1 (2021)

The economic and environmental sustainability of extra virgin olive oil supply chains: An analysis based on food miles and value chains

March 3, 2021


Following the growing trend towards globalisation of the agrifood system over the last few years, a number of scientific publications with different aims and methodological approaches have addressed the issue of the progressive link loss between the place of consumption and production of food. In part, the
scientific debate has focused on the various agri-food production commercial outlets, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of both the dominant models like mass market retail, as well as emerging models like solidarity purchasing groups The present study can be classified as concerning the sustainability of agri-food supply chains. It compares five different extra virgin olive oil (evoo) supply chains in terms of the distance between the agricultural producer and end consumer, from both an economic perspective (the number of intermediaries) and a geographical one (production and consumption places). The examined aspects are 1) all the supply chain segments in which value is added to what will be the final food product purchased by the consumer, with a focus on trade and the transport cost estimated in relation to food miles; 2) the environmental impact of transport along the entire supply chain up to the distribution of evoo to the final consumer; and 3) the trade-offs between the environmental impact and economic results.

The results obtained confirm some existing general evidence in the literature, such as the greater enhancement of agricultural products through short supply chains, and they emphasize as combining the value chain results with the environmental impact based on FMs, no real trade-offs, but rather trends, emerge.


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