Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 32, pp 33694–33701 | Cite as

Environmental impact of the on-road transportation distance and product volume from farm to a fresh food distribution center: a case study in Brazil

  • Gilson Tristão Duarte
  • Irenilza de Alencar NääsEmail author
  • Cláudio Monico Innocencio
  • Alexandra Ferreira da Silva Cordeiro
  • Raquel Baracat Tosi Rodrigues da Silva
Research Article


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 × 102 in 100 years) followed by the papaya from Rio Grande do Norte State (5 × 102 in 100 years) and the papaya from Bahia (3 × 102 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.


Papaya 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.

Ethical statement

The authors state that the article’s research and its presentation were achieved by following the rules of good scientific practice.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilson Tristão Duarte
    • 1
  • Irenilza de Alencar Nääs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cláudio Monico Innocencio
    • 1
  • Alexandra Ferreira da Silva Cordeiro
    • 1
  • Raquel Baracat Tosi Rodrigues da Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate Program in Production EngineeringPaulista UniversitySao PauloBrazil

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