1 Department of Technology and Social Sciences, Technical University of Denmark2 Technical University of Denmark3 Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
The environmental organisation NOAH has proposed carrying out an environmental assessment of two different sugar productions (using sugar beet or sugar cane) in order to illustrate which of the systems has a higher environmental impact for sugar consumption in Denmark. Therefore a comparison will be made between sugar from sugar beet produced in Denmark versus sugar produces from sugar cane in a tropical country, Brazil, and transported afterwards to Denmark. To evaluate the environmental aspects of these two product systems a Life Cycle Assessement (LCA) will be carried out.From the results obtained in the present LCA of sugar produces from sugar canes or sugar beet it is difficult to make an immediate choice between the two possibilities. Indeed, Quantitative results from the EDIP (Environmental Design of Industrial Products) software are globally similar for both ways of producing sugar although big differences between sugar cane and sugar beet exist at a few points. The qualitative approach of other fields like workning environment or specific environmental aspects is necessary to get a broader view of the problem. Nevertheless, it does not allow for a definite decision either. Therefore, privileging sugar cane or sugar beet may only be decided after a precise weighting of the environmental impacts or resource conumption. However, weighting is a political decision especially because two contries with different local conditions are dealt with. Hence, diciding which sugar to buy becomes a personal choice. What the danish consumer should be aware of is that no big difference has been found between sugar from sugar cane and sugar from sugar beet with regard to environmental impacts and resource consumption.