Sustainability Performance of Local vs Global Food Supply Chains: The Case of Bread Chains in Italy
Published: 31 October 2014
Proceedings of The 4th World Sustainability Forum,
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There is an increasing interest in the potential of local foods and short food supply chains to overcome the unsustainable practices of global/industrial food supply chains. However this opposition is being questioned together with the actual sustainability of food chains. The assessment of the sustainability performance of food chains poses several challenges because of the multiple dimensions to be considered, the different actors involved and the lack of a shared methodology for the assessment.This paper develops a comparative assessment among three wheat-to-bread chains in Italy in relation to their degree of localness and different dimensions of sustainability. Recently the gap between wheat producers, processors and consumers is gradually bridging across the EU and re-localization experiences of bread supply chains have spread. Based on a systematic literature analysis, in depth interviews and questionnaires we develop a comparative assessment on three critical attributes of sustainability for these supply chains, based on a set of selected indicators: nutritional and health properties of final products, technological innovation of the process and biodiversity preservation. This allows to shed light on synergies and tradeoffs between sustainability attributes and potential paths for sustainability improvement. This paper presents the preliminary results of the FP7 EU research project Glamur (Global and Local Food Assessment: a multidimensional performance based approach).