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More sustainability in fruit and vegetable retailing with BASF eco-efficiency analysis


* Comparison of apples from Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina from tree to shelf
Yield, transportation and refrigeration are most important criteria
BASF Crop Protection at Fruit Logistica in Berlin Feb. 4-6

Is it ecologically responsible to buy an apple from overseas? Shouldn’t people as a rule choose fruit from national or local producers? Such questions play an every greater role in consumers’ buying decisions. Yet our gut feelings can be misleading. Approaches, such as BASF’s eco-efficiency analysis, make it possible to carry out an objective assessment.

BASF’s eco-efficiency analysis for fruit and vegetables: REWE Group and BASF Crop Protection determine the governing factors for sustainability in apple growing and trading

BASF has devised for REWE an eco-efficiency analysis that determines which apple offered by a German REWE supermarket performs better in terms of its cost and environmental impact.

Examined and evaluated were apples of the Braeburn variety in November and April from the growing regions of Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

The entire life-cycle of the apple from the tree to the shelf in a German supermarket, including all the resources and materials required for this, was evaluated in terms of environmental impact and costs. A holistic approach was especially important for this. Along with the energy and resource consumption, emissions into the air, water and soil, the acreage requirement and the potential for toxicity and risk were included for the first time in such an analysis.

The results were surprising and expected in equal measure: It makes no difference in eco-efficiency whether the apples come from Germany or Italy. But Braeburn apples purchased from overseas in April can perform better than their European counterparts in terms of their environmental impact.

The reason: less energy is converted in shipping the apple from overseas then by placing the European apple in cold storage. The targeted use of fertilizer and crop protection products improves the eco-efficiency: Higher yields reduce the acreage requirement and the burden on the environment.

Actions for improving the process in terms of cost and ecology can be derived from the eco-efficiency analysis. Beyond that, it facilitates strategic decisions in purchasing.

Eco-efficiency analysis for assessing sustainability

The method developed by BASF SE and certified by TÜV technical standards tests measures the economic and ecological impact for the entire life-cycle and has already been applied successfully more than 350 times for BASF and external customers. The decisive adjustments for improving the sustainability of a product along the value chain have been identified with it. All participants along the purchasing chain are involved in the improvement process with this analysis. Similar products or processes can be compared with the help of the eco-efficiency analysis. “Only with such an all-embracing examination can the best balance be found among the requirements of business, society and the environment,” says Klaus Welsch, director of the BASF business unit Crop Protection Europe.

More information on the eco-efficiency analysis can be found at: .

BASF at Fruit Logistica 2009 in Berlin

BASF Crop Protection will exhibit for the fourth time at “Fruit Logistica“, the international trade fair for fruit and vegetables marketing, on Feb. 4-6 in Berlin. Under the slogan “Living Food Quality Together“, the Crop Protection division of BASF is consistently building partnerships with the food value chain in various countries and cultures.

In this way BASF also supports its partners in making their business processes sustainable, whether this involves improving the environmental impact of fruit and vegetable farming in the producing country, optimizing procurement strategy or defining a strategy of sustainability.

Visitors to the BASF exhibit at the fair can work out their own eco-efficiency analysis with model calculations, experiencing how individual factors along the life-cycle influence the sustainability of an apple.

Panel discussion of the topic: “Sustainability, agriculture and consumer: background and effects on trade and industry.“

What does sustainability really mean in agriculture? What effect does the sharpening focus on sustainable production have on trade and industry? Apart from such criteria as the taste, appearance and price of fruit and vegetables, ecological and social considerations also play a continually increasing role. Such parameters as working conditions at the production sites and sustainable use of natural resources lend an emotional aspect to the foods on offer, creating new opportunities for retailing and the industry.

The background and impacts of this trend are therefore central to the panel discussion on Feb. 5, 2009 at “Fruit Logistica” in Berlin. Representatives of wholesaling, retailing, farming, BASF and the German consumers’ association will discuss issues related to the great catchword “sustainability” and its implications.

BASF at “Fruit Logistica” can be found at Stand D-04 in Hall 21.


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