Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Flower Producers in Ecuador

Forschungsarbeit, 2008

62 Seiten, Note: 1.0


Table of Contents

Executive Summary


Table of Figures.

Table of Tables


1 Standards and Methodology
1.1 Standards for Calculating CO2 Emissions
1.1.1 National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme
1.1.2 ISO
1.1.3 GHG Indicator
1.1.4 PAS
1.2 LCA software
1.3 Applied Methodology

2 Definition of the Flower Calculation Model
2.1 Significant GHG Contribution Factors
2.2 Description of the Flower Calculation Model
2.3 General Assumptions and Exclusions

3 Data Inventory

4 Calculation and Results
4.1 Data Sources for the Emissions Factors
4.1.1 GaBi
4.1.2 GEMIS
4.1.3 GHG Protocol
4.2 Emissions of Production Materials
4.2.1 Emissions of the Production of Package Material
4.2.2 Emissions of the Production of Chemicals
4.2.3 Energy Consumption on the Farm
4.3 Emissions of Building Construction and Land use Change
4.4 Emissions based on Transportation
4.4.1 Personal transportation
4.4.2 Transportation of Materials to the Farm
4.4.3 Flowers Transportation
4.5 Waste
4.6 Results

5 Recommendation for Further Steps
5.1 Reduction of Emissions
5.2 Certification
5.3 CO2 Compensation - Offsetting
5.4 CO2 Neutral Marketing

6 Discussion and further Research


Table of Authorities

Executive Summary

The goal of this study is the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions which occur during the production of Ecuadorian Flowers. Emissions are considered beginning with the production of raw materials up to the point where the flowers are sold to the final wholesale.

In the beginning the current status of international standardisation is described with their relevance to the calculation. Currently there are no official regulations for CO2 calculations. Because most of the flowers are sold to Europe the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) regulations ISO 14040 ff have been applied for the methodology and the creation of the system model. The importance of this standard has been pointed out as it will be the basis for upcoming European CO2 regulations. Nowadays a widely accepted method is the greenhouse gas protocol which has been used partly for the calculations because only few sectors (e.g. transportation) are covered. Chapter 2 introduces the model of flower production. The model includes all processes and the system boundaries. Significant factors contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions are defined as airfreight of flower to the final market, consumption of electricity and usage of fertilizers on the farm. The process of collecting data is subject of Chapter 3 including the last audit data from the Flower Label Program (FLP) as well as independently created inquiries and visits on the pilot farms.

Chapter 4 comprises the calculation of CO2 emissions. The sources of the emissions factors are described in the beginning, which are mostly extracted from LCA software. The results illustrated in Figure 1 prove the assumptions of the main contribution factors.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Overview of CO2 Emissions for Flowers. Illustration by author.

The calculation results in flower emissions varying from 6 to 10 kg CO2 equivalents for 1 kg flower sold.

Chapter 5 proposes the next steps on the way to CO2 neutral flowers. Firstly the calculation has to be certified by an independent organisation. Subsequently a decision on CO2 compensation has to be taken. The purchase of CO2 certificates from official or voluntary stock exchanges was recommended because self managed CO2 projects need start-up time. The last step is the marketing of the new product, which should be realized with a CO2 label widely accepted in the distribution markets. Parallel the farms should start to optimize their farms according to CO2 emissions. Recommendations can be found in Chapter 6.

Since global warming potential is only one measurement of interference with nature other criteria should be investigated as: How is the quality of ground water? To what extend occurs acidification in the cultivated areas? An integrated LCA analysis would give answers to these questions.


illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table of Figures

Figure 1: Overview of CO2 Emissions for Flowers

Figure 2: Correlation between GHG Concentration and Temperature Increase

Figure 3: GHG Emissions by Sector

Figure 4: Life Cycle Assessment Framework

Figure 5: Defined Flower Production Model

Figure 6: Overview of Scopes and Emissions along the Value Chain

Figure 7: GHG Accounting from the Sale and Purchase of Electricity

Figure 8: Emissions Packaging

Figure 9: Emissions of Chemicals Application

Figure 10: Emissions for Energy Usage on the Farms

Figure 11: Emissions Buildings

Figure 12: Growth in Transportation within the EU

Figure 13: Emissions of Personal Travel

Figure 14: Emissions of the Transportation of Materials to the farm

Figure 15: Emissions from the Transportation of Flowers

Figure 16: Emissions based on the Waste of Packaging

Figure 17: Overview Emissions Flower Production

Figure 18: Next Steps towards CO2 neutrality

Figure 20: Conversion Tables

Figure 21: Data Enquiry - General Data

Figure 22: Data Enquiry - Flower Production

Figure 23: Data Enquiry - Fuels

Figure 24: Data Enquiry - Transportation

Figure 25: Data Enquiry - Transportation

Figure 26: Data Enquiry - Transportation

Figure 27: Data Enquiry - Electricity

Figure 28: Data Enquiry - Chemicals

Figure 29: Data Enquiry - Packaging

Figure 30: Data Enquiry - Buildings

Figure 31: Data Enquiry - Feedback

Figure 32: Emission Factors and Sources for Transportation

Figure 33: Emission Factors and Sources for Fertilizers

Figure 34: Emission Factors and Sources for Pesticides

Figure 35: Emission Factor and Source for Change in Land Use

Figure 36: Emission Factors and Sources for Buildings

Figure 37: Emission Factors and Sources for Means of Production

Figure 38: Emission Factors and Sources for Paper

Table of Tables

Table 1: Exclusions from the study


In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) illustrated the urgency of actions to mitigate global warming in their fourth assessment report.1 Figure 2 is extracted from the report and shows clearly how global temperature increases with higher concentration of Greenhouse Gases (GHG). The increase in temperature is a global average. Since microclimates also have a strong influence on local climate different effects will take place to local climates.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Correlation between GHG Concentration and Temperature Increase2

Currently the agricultural sector is responsible for at least 12,5 % of the GHG emissions worldwide. Further 10% are due to changes in land use which are often caused by turning grassland into agricultural production.3

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 3: GHG Emissions by Sector4

Though the majority of these emissions are based on livestock breeding, the flower industry as part of this sector uses lots of resources for growing and selling flowers. For example transportation by air freight to markets in Russia, Europe and the US causes lots of CO2 emissions.

At the same time agricultural organisations are strongly affected by the

consequences of global warming in terms of weather and temperature uncertainties.5 This causes agricultural organisation to take action regarding to reducing CO2 emissions. Additionally political subsidies for efficient CO2 reduction methods must be introduced. The beginning of all is a CO2 analysis which is subject to this study.


The demand of CO2 neutral products has increased recently. 55% of the German population is willing to pay higher prices if the products are CO2 neutral.6 Dole as the world biggest fruit producer and distributor entered the market of CO2 neutrality.7 The FLP organisation certifies flower production with the FLP label. This guarantees the client that the product was produced according to the FLP standards which include social and ecological standards.8 FLP also wants to offer clients CO2 neutral flowers to strengthen the distribution channel for their members. Therefore the goal of the study is the calculation of CO2 emissions calculated per flower sold. Since the customer is the point of reference emissions that are emitted during the entire lifecycle of a flower have to be considered and calculated.


Firstly it was investigated if international standards are available and could be used for calculating CO2 emissions. (Chapter 1) Secondly a model for flower production was designed with all the processes and production applied (Chapter 2). This was the basis for the data collection consisting of inquiries and personal visits (Chapter 3). In Chapter 4 the calculation is described with each emissions factor used. Finally a recommendation for the next steps is given (Chapter 5) and further scientific tasks which came up during this study presented in Chapter 6.

1 Standards and Methodology

CO2 calculations often cannot be retraced because transparency of the calculations steps and standardized factors for emissions are missing. The internet offers many CO2 calculators for certain areas (e.g. personal transportation). In the majority of the cases it is not clearly stated what system is being analyzed, what methodology is being applied and where the system boundaries are.

On the other hand companies offer CO2 compensation for CO2 emissions.

Analogical the methodologies and boundaries for those compensations are different and hard to compare. In the following the main standards and software solutions are described.

1.1 Standards for Calculating CO2 Emissions

This chapter includes various different methodologies which have evolved to calculate CO2 emissions. These vary as the ISO standards only offer methodological standards and other norms also offer calculation data.

1.1.1 National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme

The IPCC was established in 1998 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The organisation publishes reports on climate change and evaluates the risk of climate change provoked by human activity.

Already before that, in 1991, the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme was created with two main goals. Firstly to develop an internationally accepted method and software for the calculation of national greenhouse gases. Secondly to publish and spread the methodology to all the members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC9 ).

1.1.2 ISO 14040

The ISO 14040 standard consists of a Life Cycle Assessment Framework which includes four different stages. The standard is applied for various reasons. Companies try to reduce costs by making production more efficient. Therefore an LCA can be used to compare different ways of production in order to enhance production by using less resources or reducing emissions.

Another application is the strategic planning of investments or products. The NGO for example proposes a new product called “CO2 neutral flowers”. Therefore the emissions have to be calculated in detail. The ISO 14040 method would assure the client that the calculations are based on standardized procedure. By calculating LCA public policy makers get the awareness of the relative consumption of resources and emissions in the different stages of production. Thus, specific regulations can be processed. Finally Marketing uses the results for economical growth.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 4: Life Cycle Assessment Framework10

The four stages in Figure 4 have to be passed to provide compliance to the ISO norm. Each stage influences each other. Therefore the analysis is adopted with small adoptions:

1. Goal and scope

The first phase consists of a description and specification of the goal and the scope of the calculation. This leads to a definition of the system boundaries. The system boundaries determine if emissions are included in the calculation. Separately the object that is being investigated has to be described in detail. It is also referred to as functional unit.

2. Life Cycle Inventory (LCI)

The second phase includes the creation of the data inventory. This can be carried out by using dedicated LCA software, also referred to as “one source approach”, or by connecting various sources of information such as expert data or literature. The data has to be described and verified. All data has to be related to the functional unit which is defined in the goal and scope definition.

In the following a consistent model is created which included all relevant unit processes within the system boundaries. Each process consists of specific inputs and outputs. Examples for inputs are raw materials, chemicals fuels or electricity. Outputs are air and water emissions or solid waste.

The result is a life cycle inventory. This includes detailed unit processes with all inputs and outputs in the form of elementary flows from and to the environment. According to ISO 14044 an elementary flow is defined as: “a) material or energy entering the system being studied, which has been drawn from the environment without previous human transformation, or;

b) material or energy leaving the system being studied, which is discarded into the environment without subsequent human transformation”11 At this stage interpretation is acceptable. The standard accepts different interpretation in different unit processes if those are „fair“ and justified.

3. Life Cycle Impact Assessment

Each elementary flow has to be allocated to environmental impact

categories such as global warming, eutrophication) or acidification. This first step is called characterization. The impact potentials are calculated based on the results of the life cycle inventory.

The next step is the weighting by assigning the impact categories a

weighting factor depending on their relative importance. According to ISO standard this is voluntary as the next step normalization. Since the different impact categories have different units, normalization aims at one calculable unit.

4. Interpretation

The last stage is the most important one. It contains analysis of major

contributions, sensitivity analysis and uncertainty analysis. The

interpretation of these determines if the ambitions set in the first phase can be met. Conclusions are extracted from this phase, which should be reviewed critically before being published.

1.1.3 GHG Indicator

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) issued a report in 2000 on how to calculate GHG emissions. The procedure is transformed into spreadsheets managed by the World Research Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). These spreadsheets are described more in detail in Chapter 4.1.3.

"The guidelines provide a methodology whereby GHG emissions are calculated, then combined to give a single-figure GHG Indicator for an organisation's contribution to climate change.”12

The procedure however includes the definition of system boundaries. Subsequently the usage of fuels, electricity, cooling/heating plantations, product/personal transportation and process emissions are collected. Conversion factors are provided by the method to receive CO2 equivalent based results.

The final results are normalized by using categories and connecting the results to the single units of the category. For example one category is production and all the emissions that are in this category such as electricity, process emissions and product transportation are summed up and divided by the quantity of products which are produced. This gives an indicator of CO2 equivalents per product. Carbon offsets such as reforested areas are not considered in this method. Data on process related GHG emissions is not available in an extensive manner.

1.1.4 PAS 2050

The department for environmental food and rural affairs (DEFRA) and the Carbon Trust requested the British Standard Institute (BSI) to develop a Publicly Available Specification (PAS). The project aims to connect all current and relevant GHG calculation methods to form a single method of calculating embodied greenhouse gas emissions from goods and services. “The PAS aims to bridge the gap between the existing detailed and more general approaches and provide a standardised, consistent method organisations can practically use for measuring the GHG emissions embodied in products and services.”13

In February 2008 the last report “Methods review to support the PAS for the calculation of the embodied greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services PAS 2050” was published. The report recommends ISO-consistent hybrid LCA approach which combines process LCA with input and output analysis. Each sub-process is analysed and the CO2 emissions calculated. These emissions are added through the process chain of a product. Parallel a financial balance is created which connects the prices of the product at the different stages with the emissions. If emissions from a sub-process cannot be calculated, the results of the financial balance are used. Since the retrieval of relevant data is more difficult compared to the methods, the PAS recommends using standardized data from the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP). It will take until 2010 until the British Office for National Statistics will publish environmental data that must be used for the calculation.

This approach is currently the most developed one in Europe but yet not finalized. Therefore, it is summarized but not applied in this study.

1.2 LCA software

There are already software tools available, which can deal with hybrid LCA systems recommended by the PAS 2050 such as SimaPro, Bottomline or CMLCA. In 2000 the Swedish Environmental Research Institute summarized various LCA software in one report.14

The software data used for this study included GEMIS (Globales Emissions-Modell Integrierter Systeme), the free of charge LCA software of the institute of applied ecology, Freiburg (Ökoinstitut) and GABI (Ganzheitliche Bilanzierung) which is developed by the University of Stuttgart in cooperation with PE International. Also the Swiss based econinvent database which is managed by the Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories including various research organisations.

1.3 Applied Methodology

The market of CO2 calculations is currently not very regulated and lacks one common standard. In the sector of LCA the new ISO 14040 was published in 2006 with a standardized methodology. This standard can be seen as the methodological basis for the CO2 standards and thus also for this study. Other regulations as the PAS 2050 build on this regulation. Since the PAS is designated for the European Market which is the leading export market for Ecuadorian flowers this calculation standard should be applied when the final version is published.

The National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme and the GHG Indicator offer various calculation methods which are very useful for the calculation of this study. In the designing phase of the project two different methodologies have been discussed with the project sponsor. Firstly a LCA analysis based on LCA software and secondly a CO2 analysis based on the methodologies of the LCA norms with different sources of data.

The first method is coupled to LCA software which was opposed by the project partner for several reasons. Therefore the procedure was adopted with the following work procedure:

1. Analysis of the case to identify significant issues.

The case material is browsed and analyzed with focus on the final target audience and the purpose of the study.

2. Definition of the scope for the case.

This step includes documentation of the system including the system boundaries.

3. Data Inventory.

The need of data and documentation is identified. The data is collected, validated and documented.

4. Preparation and calculation of the inventory profile in the case.

Data is related to the functional unit. System boundaries can be refined.

5. Interpretation.

Interpret the results with the focus defined in the goal and scope.15

2 Definition of the Flower Calculation Model

According to the methodology of DIN 14040 ff the beginning of the analysis contains the definition of the significant GHG contributors which will be described in this chapter amongst the goal of the study and the scope.

2.1 Significant GHG Contribution Factors

The US, Europe and Russia are the main markets for Ecuadorian flowers. The

flowers have to be sold quickly before they fade. Air transportation is the solution to solve this conflict but it causes high emissions.

It is recognized that consumption of goods and services, also called indirect emissions, are highly responsible for the rise to GHG emissions. The calculation of these "embodied" emissions contributes to the total emissions of flower production. Therefore the consumption of chemicals in form of fertilizers and pesticides were assumed to be one of the significant factors.

Approximately 50% of the worldwide emissions are caused by the generation of electricity. On the farms electricity is used for the office buildings and at some farms also for cooling the flowers before they are transported to the airport. In a comparable LCA the main factors also were transportation, usage of chemicals and electricity.16

2.2 Description of the Flower Calculation Model

Flower production was divided into 8 different processes. Each process has GHG emissions. Material streams have been used to calculate the means of production used at the various stages and their respective emissions.

Since it is intended to show reduction potential, the emissions from the means of production are calculated in the process where they can be reduced by the farm. For example if they apply fewer chemicals on the farm, fewer emissions occur because of less emissions during the production of chemicals. The consequence is lower CO2 emissions. The process model can be obtained from Figure 5: Defined Flower Production Model.

The first process consists of the production of all means of production. The finished products such as chemicals and office products are transported to the flower farm. In the farm the means of production are used to grow flowers which are also flows from this point on.

The fourth process deals with the packaging of the flowers. For protection they are separated with little paper boxes to avoid damage to the blossom. The flowers are surrounded by plastic film and packed into a carton box, called tobacco. One tobacco consists of up to 150 flowers. For distribution purposes two tobaccos are grouped together. The result is one cage, which is the unit used for exportation. One farm uses cooled trucks to bring the flowers to the national airport. This helps to extend the life of the cut flowers. The flowers are transported to the final destination by airplane or very rarely by boat.

The system also includes the combustion of transport material at the end of the

lifecycle. Roses are being treated as GHG neutral as they emit the absorbed GHG when they are burned or decomposed.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 5: Defined Flower Production Model17

2.3 General Assumptions and Exclusions


According to the IPCC bedded GHG cannot be considered as a carbon sink because at the end of the lifecycle the GHG will be released to the nature. Around 30% of the volatile solids remain sequestered in the compost and released slowly over time.18


In contrast to the LCA no financial reflection of flower production has been made. Furthermore these subjects have been excluded from the study:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table 1: Exclusions from the study

3 Data Inventory

After the main contributors have been determined and the system borders defined the data collection is the next step. It was decided to use a two step method to ensure completeness and correctness of the data.

Firstly a data enquiry was created which included question to all consumptions and production data. The PAS refers to this data as primary data. Although it takes a lot of effort to receive all primary data, this ambition was made to calculate the emissions as realistic as possible.21 This enquiry has been send to the pilot farms. It consisted of nine parts which are related to the elementary flows or the 8 processes described in Chapter 3.

The first part22 contained general data of the farms such as direction, size of the farm or employees. The farm size varied between 15 and 47 hectare and the employment between 200 and 600 workers.

The production of the farms was subject of the second part, the third part dealt with the elementary flow of fuels used.

Transportation was subject to the fourth part and included the transportation of employees, means of production to the farm, business trips of employees and the transport of flowers to the final vendor, mostly to the US, Europe and Russia. Consumption of water, external electricity and internal generation was asked for in part 5.

The usage of chemicals was matter of the next part including country of production and content of the main ingredients nitrogen (N), phosphor (P) and potassium (K) for fertilizers and percentage of active ingredient for pesticides.

In part 7 the packaging and other means of production such as protective clothing and printing paper were covered.

Finally the farms had the chance to include missed emissions in part 9.

Each requested number (consumption, production data, etc.) received a unique identity in the enquiry. The number was put in the calculation later to retrace the source data.

The backflow of the farms was different. While most farms returned complete data, one farm returned only little information.


1 IP07WG4

2 WI08GR

3 IP07WG3, also see Figure 3: GHG Emissions by Sector

4 WI08GR



7 HA07DO

8 FL07GU

9 The UNFCCC currently consists of 189 member states who meet at a yearly climate conference.

10 ISO07

11 IS06EN

12 TH00TH, page 10

13 BS08RE

14 JÖ00LC

15 adopted from LCA training package, page 3

16 JUN99CA, page 34f

17 Illustration by author

18 DE04REW, page 42

19 PRA99PO, page 185-215

20 SAU00AV, page 6

21 A comparable study of the organisation myclimate used secondary data. It was intended to compare the data, but the myclimate study contained a lot of private data.

22 See the appendix for the enquiry developed

Ende der Leseprobe aus 62 Seiten


Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Flower Producers in Ecuador
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greenhouse gas emissions, Ecuadorian Flowers, Emissions, CO2 calculation, ISO 14040, CO2 regulation, greenhouse gas protocol, Flower Label Program
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Max Martin (Autor:in), 2008, Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Flower Producers in Ecuador, München, GRIN Verlag,


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