Michigan Technological University Sustainable Futures Institute
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931
Phone: 906.487.3612
Fax: 906.487.2943
e-mail: sfi@mtu.edu



Life Cycle Assessment of the Retail Chain: Dairy Products

Principal Investigator: David Shonnard
Sponsor: Wal-Mart Corporation
Award Amount: $53,353
Project Duration: 1/28/2008 - 6/30/2009
Project Summary:

Previous life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of dairy products in the European Union have found that up to 5% of greenhouse gas emissions are derived from milk and other dairy products; however, few such studies have been undertaken in the United States. The University of Arkansas has commissioned SFI Deputy Director David Shonnard to undertake a life cycle analysis of dairy products on behalf of Wal-Mart Corporation to assess impacts to the environment and human health for all of the significant stages in the life cycle of dairy products. The results of this analysis will serve to identify opportunities for saving energy and reducing greenhouse gases. Shonnard’s group will define the goal and scope of the study, formulate a functional unit definition, organize the inventory data, suggest allocation methods when appropriate, and simulate the LCA results using Michigan Tech’s software (SimaPro 7.0). The study involves the design and implementation of life cycle inventory surveys to be distributed to dairy producers. The results will identify hot spots for subsequent detailed analysis with regard to greenhouse gas mitigations options.



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