2009 Volume 5 Issue 4 Pages 446-455
Objective. Recently, many social problems related with food products have risen by several media. Local production for local consumption is paid attention to society from the viewpoint of safety and environment. “Carbon footprint”, which is the label to show the LCCO2 (life cycle CO2) emissions of the products, attracts peoples’ interests, because it helps citizens to interpret the effect of a product to the environment and is expected to improve the transparency of environmental information. In Japan, it is expected that many products with Carbon footprint will be released to the public. With regard to food products, Carbon footprint might be useful to promote home-grown crops and vegetables, if we could endure the significance of these products using LCA. In this study, we evaluated LCCO2 (CO2 and N2O emissions from cultivation stage to sales stage) emissions of 6 farm products (cabbage, broccoli, spinach, KOMATSUNA, Japanese radish, sweet potato) and displayed the results using Carbon footprint at farmer’s market cooperated with Tsuzuki ward office Yokohama city and Tsuzuki farm (environmental conservation farmer) in Tsuzuki ward. In order to confirm the significance of using LCA, we performed questionnaire survey to see the consumer response after environmental information is disclosed for a certain period.
Result and Discussion. CO2 and N2O emissions of cultivation stage were relatively small, because the farmer we cooperated made it possible to minimize the amount of fertilizer and agrichemicals. Minimizing these amounts might increase risk in smaller amount of crops, but we confirmed that the success of this style of agriculture leads the considerable reduction of CO2 and N2O emissions. And there was a big difference of CO2 emissions between sales at farmers’ market and supermarket. Especially, using refrigerator for broccoli and spinach in sales stage in supermarket would be one of the key elements. The questionnaire survey showed that consumers have high interests in the environmental issues and the display of CO2 emissions. In addition, around 80 percent of the people answered buying the products which showed the CO2 emissions rather than these did not show. And we inquired the consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) to the vegetables that showed lower CO2 emissions. As a result, people have a tendency to pay more for the products with lower CO2 emissions. We statistically analyzed using X2 test and F test about this result and confirmed the followings.
(1)Carbon footprint could promote the environmental consideration consumer behavior.
(2)People have a tolerance to pay for the products with lower CO2 emissions.
Conclusion. In this study, we evaluate LCCO2 emissions of 6 farm products, and disclosing the environmental information using Carbon footprint at farmer’s market in certain period of time. The style of agriculture, the distance of transportation, and the procedure of sales would be key elements for the reduction of environmental impacts. Local production for local consumption using farmer’s market would be an effective way to contribute the reduction of it well. According to the result of questionnaire survey, disclosing Carbon footprintwould have the potential to promote the environmental consideration consumer behavior, because people evaluated higher values for the products with smaller amount of CO2 emissions. The next challenge would be to discuss how to support consumers to interpret the number of CO2 emissions.