Affichage environnemental des produits agricoles en France : quelle méthode pour quels objectifs? Comparaison de deux approches d'évaluation des impacts (ACV) ou des pratiques (HVE)

Abstract : Within the frame of the French Grenelle for the environment, in the agricultural sector, the need to orient consumers toward environmental-friendly products was emphasised. In June 2011, a new certification was hence promulgated by decree: the agriculture of high environmental value (HEV). This certification aims at harmonising all agri-environmental initiatives and is based on a semi-quantitative system for the environmental impact assessment of agricultural practices. This certification consists of three levels of commitment, with only the highest level being recognised by a logo on products. At the same time, a national experimentation phase was launched (July 2011) on eco-labelling involving dozens of companies with their own labelling projects on consuming goods. Life-cycle analysis (LCA) is the recommended method within the national methodological framework for eco-labelling. It is a holistic method that quantifies environmental impacts along the product life-cycle. The certification HEV and LCA are based on very different approaches of impact assessment, which can be complementary. However, the two approaches are also likely to compete with one another in terms of visibility, implementation and potential economic added-value. LCA-based eco-labelling is becoming mandatory, whereas the HEV certification is voluntary. Development of LCA-based eco-labelling is thus more likely to develop. Both approaches remain under development and numerous methodological questions are still open. More generally, eco-labelling also raises questions on the difficulty to find a good compromise between scientific reliability and efficient communication.
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Cécile Bessou, Vincent Colomb. Affichage environnemental des produits agricoles en France : quelle méthode pour quels objectifs? Comparaison de deux approches d'évaluation des impacts (ACV) ou des pratiques (HVE). Cahiers Agricultures, EDP Sciences, 2013, 22 (2), pp.85-95. ⟨10.1684/agr.2013.0612⟩. ⟨cirad-00824647⟩

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