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Allocation in the LCA of meat products : is agreement possible?

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Aurélie Wilfart (Inrae) et al., Cleaner Environmental Systems, 2021, volume 2, juin, 12 pages

Allocation is a key methodological issue in LCA, since allocation rules in ISO standards are commonly subject to interpretation. The present study focuses on this question for the meat supply chain because this sector deals with many conflicts of interest. It consisted of three phases: (i) a general literature review of factors that influence the choice of allocation rule, (ii) a consultation of stakeholders involved in the meat supply chain to identify underlying reasons for their allocation-rule preferences; (iii) and characterization and assessment of allocation rules. The literature review showed divergent recommendations even if economic allocation is mainly preferred. Stakeholder consultation revealed the 4 criteria underlying the divergent choices: meaning, compliance with recommendations, stability in time and space, and practical aspects. Using for assessing different rules gave as a result a different hierarchy from the one emerging with the stakeholders. This study highlighted that the main criterion was the meaning, which is also the most subjective one, and which leads to two opposing rules - biophysical or economic allocation. Concepts, advantages, and disadvantages of these two schools of thought were explained, as their consequences for the meat supply chain. Finally, this study can help LCA practitioners make well-reasoned choices.

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