Purpose This paper aims to develop a scenario analysis on the experts' perceptions of benefits and barriers related to adopting digital technologies for the life cycle assessment (LCA) to catalyse a circular economy transition in the agri-food system. Methods A literature review was performed to identify LCA's digital technologies that can be implemented within the agri-food system. Furthermore, an in-depth interview with a panel of senior researchers was conducted to establish a set of items and assess the perceived benefits and barriers associated with an "empowered LCA", i.e. a future-oriented LCA based on digital technologies. To this end, a two-stage exploratory factor analysis relying on the principal component analysis technique was carried out to refine the set of items. Finally, a covariance-based structural equation model was performed, built on a confirmatory factor analysis, to test the measurement model. Results and discussion The study's findings provide five constructs to explore the potential benefits and barriers related to adopting a digital technologies-based LCA (empowered LCA) for a circular economy transition in the agri-food system. More specifically, the benefits can be assessed using the following constructs: "benefits for the data collection and analysis", "benefits for the LCA analysts", "benefits for the management" and "benefits for traceability". In addition, the barriers have been evaluated using a single construct labelled "general barriers". Conclusions The study highlights the relevance of digital technologies for a circular economy transition to develop a more reliable LCA, enhancing legislative compliance and supporting the traceability processes in the agri-food system. The associated implications for LCA experts, agri-food managers and policymakers are presented. Furthermore, limitations and future research directions are also discussed.

The role of digital technologies for the LCA empowerment towards circular economy goals: a scenario analysis for the agri-food system

Sica, D
;
Esposito, B;Malandrino, O;Supino, S
2022

Abstract

Purpose This paper aims to develop a scenario analysis on the experts' perceptions of benefits and barriers related to adopting digital technologies for the life cycle assessment (LCA) to catalyse a circular economy transition in the agri-food system. Methods A literature review was performed to identify LCA's digital technologies that can be implemented within the agri-food system. Furthermore, an in-depth interview with a panel of senior researchers was conducted to establish a set of items and assess the perceived benefits and barriers associated with an "empowered LCA", i.e. a future-oriented LCA based on digital technologies. To this end, a two-stage exploratory factor analysis relying on the principal component analysis technique was carried out to refine the set of items. Finally, a covariance-based structural equation model was performed, built on a confirmatory factor analysis, to test the measurement model. Results and discussion The study's findings provide five constructs to explore the potential benefits and barriers related to adopting a digital technologies-based LCA (empowered LCA) for a circular economy transition in the agri-food system. More specifically, the benefits can be assessed using the following constructs: "benefits for the data collection and analysis", "benefits for the LCA analysts", "benefits for the management" and "benefits for traceability". In addition, the barriers have been evaluated using a single construct labelled "general barriers". Conclusions The study highlights the relevance of digital technologies for a circular economy transition to develop a more reliable LCA, enhancing legislative compliance and supporting the traceability processes in the agri-food system. The associated implications for LCA experts, agri-food managers and policymakers are presented. Furthermore, limitations and future research directions are also discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4809153
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