Sustainability Assessment of Agriculture & Food Systems


1. Provide an overview of current sustainability challenges related to agriculture and food production at farm, product, regional and global level 2. Explore potential strategies for sustainable agriculture and food systems which address the above mentioned challenges 3. Provide an overview of analytical frameworks and tools for sustainability assessment in food and agriculture systems, including the SAFA Guidelines, Life Cycle Assessment, Multi-Criteria Assessments and Environmentally Extended Cost Benefit Analysis 4. Provide the capability to understand and critically discuss sustainability assessment studies  


Basic understanding of agricultural sciences and agroecology

Learning Outcomes

1. Students are able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sustainability challenges and strategies to address these challenges 2. Students are familiar with analytical frameworks for sustainability assessment 3. Students have an overview of tools used for sustainability assessment and their basic advantages and disadvantages 4. Students are able to critically discuss and evaluate outcomes of sustainability assessment studies      


-        Sustainability challenges o   Food security o   Climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, resource depletion, animal welfare, etc. o   Child labour, working conditions o   Profitability, investments, structural change -        Sustainability strategies o   Efficiency strategies o   Consistency strategies o   Sufficiency strategies -        Sustainability frameworks o   Sustainable Development Goals o   Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) o   SAFA-Guidelines -        Classification of sustainability assessment tools o   Primary purpose of the tools o   Coverage of sustainability dimensions o   Applicability (Geographical, Sector) o   Perspective on sustainability -        SAFA Guidelines o   Governance, Environmental, Social and Economic Dimension o   Themes, Subthemes, Objectives -        Life Cycle Assessment o   ISO14040 o   Goal and scope definition §  System boundaries §  Functional unit o   Life Cycle Inventory o   Impact Assessment o   Interpretation o   Application in agriculture and food systems o   Advantages and challenges of applying LCA -        Multi-Criteria Assessment o   Principals of multi-criteria assessments o   SMART-Farm Tool §  Indicators, weighting §  Relevance and compliance concepts §  Expert-based evaluation: Delphi survey §  Communication with farmers §  Advantages and challenges of applying multi-criteria assessments -        Large scale mass-flow and economic sustainability assessment models o   Case studies: §  Concentrate use / Food-feed competition §  Organic agriculture -        Choice of a suitable tool for a specific context  

Content Delivery

This course consists of lectures, reading assignments, individual and group exercises that the students prepare during the course.   

Coursework And Assignment Details

Assignment-report on current Sustainability Assessment in Food and Agriculture Systems Written examination