Evaluating a technique used to measure environmental performance within agriculture–case studies
A methodology has been developed which can be used to assess the environmental performance of a farm. The computer-based system, known as EMA, utilizes a checklist auditing process based on both quantitative and qualitative data and looks, holistically, at the farm assessing a wide range of farming activities including crop production, crop protection, resource and waste management, livestock husbandry and conservation. The system relies on the use of eco-ratings which are activity based performance indices derived by comparing actual farm practices with what is perceived to be site specific best practice. The system utilizes a similar approach to that used in standard environmental management systems, such as ISO 14001, by providing a scale for performance measurement to allow monitoring of improvements and progress, and to permit performance highs and lows to be identified. The system has recently undergone piloting and evaluation in house, on farm and in collaboration with a major UK retailer, Safeway Stores plc. This paper describes this process and presents the findings in the form of case studies. A brief description of the system is included for completeness. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.