Evaluation of meat co-product allocations as part of Life Cycle Analysis: a new method based on biophysical parameters

The sharing of total environmental impacts between the different products of a multi-output system is crucial in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). If possible, standards recommend subdivision then substitution methods. Allocation rules are however often necessary. With allocation, the total impact is shared between the different coproducts proportionally to a value that characterizes the coproducts. This proportionality can be based on physical values (such as mass, protein, dry matter, etc.) or again the economic value of coproducts. As they are based on various types of parameters, allocation rules can lead to significantly different environmental impact results. This creates debate between stakeholders and a consensus is often difficult to reach, this being the case in several sectors including the meat sector. To fuel the debate even more, Chen et al. (2017) proposed a new allocation method based on the energy needed for the growth, maintenance and activity of each tissue. This is called the biophysical allocation. The method has been judged scientifically viable but also particularly difficult to apply due to the amount of data necessary and the complexity of the calculation model. This paper presents a freeware developed to help to easily calculate biophysical, mass and economic allocation factors to allow a fair comparison: MeatPartTool. MeatPartTool also allows access to a large database of allocation factors that comprises beef cattle (132 individuals), calves (54 individuals) and lambs (14 individuals) at the slaughterhouse stage (Le Féon et al., 2020a).