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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 26th Conference of the Austrian Society of Agricultural Economics
Place Vienna, Austria

Open Access


Improving the environmental sustainability of agriculture requires a better understanding of the link between the local and global dimension of the environmental performance of a farm. The aim of our research is therefore to investigate the possible synergies and trade-offs between farm local and global environmental performance using the example of Swiss dairy farms in the alpine region. The analysis relies on a sample of 56 dairy farms. For each of them, a detailed and comprehensive cradle-to-farm gate LCA (life cycle assessment) has been estimated using the SALCA (Swiss Agricultural Life Cycle Assessment) approach. Spearman’s rank correlation analysis between the global and local environmental performance indicators reveals a complex picture. Depending on the environmental impact categories considered, both trade-offs as well as synergies can be observed. Our findings imply that the improvement of the environmental sustainability of dairy farming is a highly complex endeavour, one for which no one size fits all solutions may exist. Our results furthermore suggest that existing farm-level agrienvironmental policy measures that focus on the local dimension of environmental performance may lead to a deterioration of global environmental performance of farming.