Market oriented assessment of the environmental impact of the New Zealand kiwifruit value chain

A.D. Mowat
Assessment of the environmental impact of fresh produce value chains is an important risk management activity. It can also reduce costs and increase product differentiation. For branded products, such as ZESPRITM kiwifruit, damage to brand reputation is a major risk that can be minimised by an effective environmental impact management strategy. Evaluation of environmental issues relevant to the international marketplace has highlighted the importance of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water, waste, non-renewable inputs and biodiversity. For New Zealand (NZ) fresh kiwifruit exports, the following approach was used. Firstly, environmental impacts were prioritised into metrics of relevance to global retailers, consumers and regulatory organisations. Next, the impact of each environmental priority was assessed. Then, risks and opportunities associated with the impact measurements were identified. After that, tools were developed to reduce any risks or exploit any opportunities. Work is ongoing to integrate these tools into industry. The following examples illustrate the environmental footprints. Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa 'Hayward') grown in NZ and consumed in Europe had a carbon footprint of 1.61 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents kg-1 of fruit consumed (i.e., 1.61 kg CO2-eq kg-1 fruit). Fossil fuel inputs for the same fruit were 0.31 L kg-1 fruit, the water footprint was 458 L H2O kg-1 fruit and waste kiwifruit was 0.19 kg waste fruit kg-1 of fruit consumed. For biodiversity, initial surveys found about 6.6% of the land title area for a NZ kiwifruit orchard provided ecological refuge. This work was achieved by organisations involved in strategic collaborative-foresight activities.
Mowat, A.D. (2016). Market oriented assessment of the environmental impact of the New Zealand kiwifruit value chain. Acta Hortic. 1112, 439-446
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1112.59
Actinidia deliciosa, environmental footprint, biodiversity, foresight

Acta Horticulturae