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The availability of life-cycle assessment, water footprinting, and carbon footprinting studies in Brazil

  • COMMENTARY AND DISCUSSION ARTICLE
  • Published:
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Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to determine the availability of environmental life cycle assessment (LCA), water footprinting, and carbon footprinting data in Brazil. In particular, the study is targeted at showing what LCA-related studies are accessible to non-specialists residing in Brazil as well as LCA specialists interested in accessing Brazilian LCA-related studies.

Methods

Online searches for LCA documents were performed using publicly available search engines such as Google and Google Scholar, as well as academic databases containing peer-reviewed journal articles such as Scopus, ScienceDirect, and Springer. The searches were conducted utilizing the keywords “Life Cycle Assessment,” “carbon footprint,” “water footprint,” and “Brazil.”

Results and discussion

A total of 73 published documents on LCA studies conducted between 2000 and 2016 could be found. Of these, 59 were only available in restricted access journals requiring some form of paid subscriptions. Most of these documents originated from academic institutions. For the majority of the studies, the exact region in which the study was carried out was not specified. Only twelve carbon and water footprinting studies were found. However, it was known that several other studies were available but were not found in these searches unless more specific years, authors, and/or products were included in the search terms.

Conclusions

It was observed that LCA studies were more established in the energy and agricultural sectors, an expected result given that all LCA studies would rely on energy as a background process, as well as the increasing energy demand due to increasing population and industrial activities in Brazil. Furthermore, it was observed that most LCA studies in the energy sector concentrated on the conversion of biomass, mainly sugarcane and soybean, to biofuels; thereby, establishing a strong link between the energy and agricultural sectors. The results showed that LCA is an emerging quantitative assessment technique in Brazil, especially in the energy and agricultural sectors. While there were over 70 studies found, it is not clear how many of these could be transferable into an LCI database or be used in other studies, due to the exact inputs used.

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Correspondence to Kevin G. Harding.

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Bodunrin, M.O., Burman, N.W., Croft, J. et al. The availability of life-cycle assessment, water footprinting, and carbon footprinting studies in Brazil. Int J Life Cycle Assess 23, 1701–1707 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-018-1484-2

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