Sustainability has become a key issue for agricultural systems. In this context, sustainability assessment implies considering different aspects of agricultural activities, including environmental, economic and social issues, and it is usually based on practice-based indicators. However, proposed methods and applications are still rare due to the difficulty to build a strong general framework and to find appropriate data. The present work develops a performance indicator framework using farm accounting data from the Italian Agricultural Accounting Information Network and proposes a multi-criteria approach based on the multiple reference point weak-strong composite indicators (MRP-WSCI) method to assess the degree of sustainability at the farm level. This method, widely applied to sustainability assessment, calculates the relative rankings including the weak and strong approaches to sustainability and facilitates an understanding of the different indices used, but it is still unused in the agricultural sector. The proposed evaluation framework shows that MRP-WSCI can handle a holistic set of indicators and rank the farms according to their level of sustainability, making it suitable for the agricultural farm sustainability assessment. Our results show that none of the farms in the case study sample can be classified as “good,” according to some of the indices produced, that is, the strong–strong and strong–weak index, while just two of them are good for the weak–weak index. Although the size of the sample used is small, the methodological approach proposed can be straightforwardly extended to larger samples. This methodology can provide information regarding the sustainability of farms to regional and/or national agricultural offices, agricultural extension workers, and farmers themselves, helping in understanding issues in specific dimensions.

Using accounting dataset for agricultural sustainability assessment through a multi-criteria approach: an Italian case study

Boggia A.;Fagioli F. F.;Paolotti L.
;
Rocchi L.
2023

Abstract

Sustainability has become a key issue for agricultural systems. In this context, sustainability assessment implies considering different aspects of agricultural activities, including environmental, economic and social issues, and it is usually based on practice-based indicators. However, proposed methods and applications are still rare due to the difficulty to build a strong general framework and to find appropriate data. The present work develops a performance indicator framework using farm accounting data from the Italian Agricultural Accounting Information Network and proposes a multi-criteria approach based on the multiple reference point weak-strong composite indicators (MRP-WSCI) method to assess the degree of sustainability at the farm level. This method, widely applied to sustainability assessment, calculates the relative rankings including the weak and strong approaches to sustainability and facilitates an understanding of the different indices used, but it is still unused in the agricultural sector. The proposed evaluation framework shows that MRP-WSCI can handle a holistic set of indicators and rank the farms according to their level of sustainability, making it suitable for the agricultural farm sustainability assessment. Our results show that none of the farms in the case study sample can be classified as “good,” according to some of the indices produced, that is, the strong–strong and strong–weak index, while just two of them are good for the weak–weak index. Although the size of the sample used is small, the methodological approach proposed can be straightforwardly extended to larger samples. This methodology can provide information regarding the sustainability of farms to regional and/or national agricultural offices, agricultural extension workers, and farmers themselves, helping in understanding issues in specific dimensions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1523808
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