Environmental impact of the on-road transportation distance and product volume from farm to a fresh food distribution center: a case study in Brazil
The pollutants’ emissions from on-road transport are critical pressure on the climate change scenario, and most developing countries rely on mostly diesel transportation. The current study aimed to estimate the environmental impact of the distance from the agricultural production area of fresh food (papaya, potato, and tomato) to a fresh food distribution center located in Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. The way the products were carried was assessed for calculating the total transported volume. The total amount carried was measured, considering the number of trips multiplied by the total distance traveled within a year of supply. An online calculator was used to evaluate the amount of CO2 emission, and to allow the estimative of the amount of CO2-eq, that is the Global Warming Impact (GWP) in 100 years. The highest CO2 emission was identified in the potato transported from Paraná State to the distribution center, with a CO2-eq emission of 3237 t/year (64% of contribution), followed by the papaya from Bahia State (2723 t/year, 42% of contribution), and the tomato from Sao Paulo State (625 t/year, 71% of contribution). However, when computing the GWP, the highest value was found in the transport of potato from the Minas Gerais State (8 × 10−2 in 100 years) followed by the papaya from Rio Grande do Norte State (5 × 10−2 in 100 years) and the papaya from Bahia (3 × 10−2 in 100 years). The higher the amount of product transported by a trip, the smaller the environmental impact in the long run. A proper strategy to reduce the environmental impact would be to have large freight volume when transporting food from vast distances within continental countries.
KeywordsPapaya Potato Tomato Freight GHG emissions Global warming potential
The authors wish to thank Mr. Ricardo Alécio, manager of the Department of Communication and Marketing, and Ag. Eng. Ricardo de Oliveira Munhoz, from the Department of Horticulture and Fruits of the CEASA Campinas for making the data available for the current study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
The opinions expressed in this manuscript are those of the authors.
The authors state that the article’s research and its presentation were achieved by following the rules of good scientific practice.
- Andersson K, Ohlsson T (1998) Life cycle assessment of bread produced on different scales. Chalmers Tekniska Hogskola, GoteborgGoogle Scholar
- Brander M. (2012) Greenhouse gases, CO2, CO2eq, and carbon: what do all these terms mean? Econometrica 1-3 < https://ecometrica.com/assets/GHGs-CO2-CO2e-and-Carbon-What-Do-These-Mean-v2.1.pdf> Accessed 11 September 2018.
- Caracciolo F, Amani P, Cavallo C, Cembalo L, D’Amico M, Del Giudice T, Freda R, Fritz M, Lombardi P, Mennella L, Panico T, Tosco D, Cicia G (2017) The environmental benefits of changing logistics structures for fresh vegetables. Int J Sustain Transp 12:233–240. https://doi.org/10.1080/15568318.2017.1337834 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- CFC- Carbon Footprint Calculator (2018) Vehicle CO2 emissions footprint calculator. <https://www.commercialfleet.org/tools/van/carbon-footprint-calculator> Accessed 12 December 2018.
- Edwards-Jones G, Milà i, Canals L, Hounsome N, Truninger M, Koerber G, Hounsome B, Cross P, York EH, Hospido A, Plassmann K, Harris IM, Edwards RT, Day GAS, Tomos AD, Cowell SJ, Jones DL (2008) Testing the assertion that ‘local food is best’: the challenges of an evidence-based approach. Trends Food Sci Technol 19:265e274–265e274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2008.01.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Forster P, Ramaswamy V, Artaxo P, Berntsen T, Betts R, Fahey DW, Haywood J, Lean J, Lowe DC, Myhre G, Nganga J, Prinn R, Raga G, Schulz M, Dorland RV (2007) Changes in atmospheric constituents and in radiative forcing. In: Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom and New York Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeGoogle Scholar
- GHG - Protocol Standard (2011) The greenhouse gas protocol. http://www.ghgprotocol.org/standards Accessed 10 September 2018.
- Hall G, Rothwell A, Grant T, Isaacs B, Ford L, Dixon J, Kirk M, Friel S (2014) Potential environmental and population health impacts of local urban food systems under climate change: a life cycle analysis case study of lettuce and chicken. Agr Food Secur 3:6. https://doi.org/10.1186/2048-7010-3-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- IEA-International Energy Agency (2014) CO2 emission from fuel combustion 2012. http://www.iea.org/co2highlights/co2highlights.pdf Accessed 17 August 2018
- IPCC- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014) Fifth Assessment Report, p AR5Google Scholar
- ITF-International Transport Forum (2010) Reducing Transport Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Trends & Data. OECD/ITF. < https://www.itf-oecd.org/real-world-vehicle-emissions> Accessed 23 October 2018.
- Ligterink NE (2017) Real-world vehicle emissions. The International Transport Forum. Discussion Paper No. 2017-06 https://www.itf-oecd.org/sites/default/files/docs/real-word-vehicle-emisions.pdf Accessed 11 September 2018.
- Watkiss P (2005) The validity of food miles as an indicator of sustainable development. Final Report produced for DEFRA. ED50254 Issue 7. < http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Food/DEFRA_Food_Miles_Report.pdf> Accessed August 10 2018.
- Welle D (2018) What represents the transport by trucks for Brazilian supply chains? https://www.cartacapital.com.br/economia/o-que-o-transporte-por-caminhoes-representa-para-o-brasil Accessed May 15, 2018.