Environmental Implications of Eco-Labeling for Rice Farming Systems

Solhee Kim, Taegon Kim, Timothy M. Smith, Kyo Suh
Sustainability, Vol.10, No.4, 2018

Concerns about climate change have forced countries to strengthen regulations, standards, and certifications related to greenhouse gas emissions. Various policies targeting farm products, such as carbon labeling and the Environmentally-Friendly Agricultural Product Certification (EFAPC) for agricultural products, have been implemented in South Korea to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the implications of the various certification systems for rice farming, including organic farming, non-pesticide farming, and low-pesticide farming. For this study, we constructed a life cycle inventory (LCI) of rice farming systems including conventional, low-pesticide, non-pesticide, and organic farming systems in South Korea. Finally, we compared international farming systems in South Korea, the U.S., and the EU. The rice farming systems with eco-labeling certifications have reduced the environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of rice farming by country were highest in the U.S. (100.0), followed by the EU (53.7), and Korea’s conventional (48.6), low-pesticide (35.8), non-pesticide (28.9), and organic (16.7) farming practices. These results may be useful in proliferating and improving the methodology to evaluate eco-labeling and carbon labeling systems.

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