Rice is the most widely used cereal for human consumption, attributing its production as one of the most important activities for the global population. Therefore, given its economic and nutritional value, assessing the sustainability of this production process could be worth noting. In this regard, this research aims to investigate the most recent literature related to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of rice primary production, to clarify the extent to which Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) and thus the three pillars of sustainability have been applied in the rice sector, as well as to highlight possible research gaps. Thus, 40 articles (2012–2022) were analyzed. The main research gaps that were found were, firstly, that there was a lesser tendency to consider multiple functional units, highlighting how little multifunctionality is considered. As to be expected, there was also a great difference in methodological choices, which often leads to a great variability of results, making evaluations and comparisons of impacts uncertain. These were also highly dependent on soil and climate conditions in the various countries, which could in turn affect input utilization, and results. The study of the impacts of primary rice production was then addressed by a few countries, among which some of the largest producers were absent, while the least considered aspects were related to the depletion of abiotic resources and the promotion of organic farming. Finally, sustainability assessments in rice production had little focus on the socio-economic dimension, showing how little LCT is considered. Therefore, based on this consideration, a Social Life Cycle Assessment was integrated into the study, the results of which show that the countries with medium to high social impacts could be India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Bangladesh.
Rice Production Chain: Environmental and Social Impact Assessment - A Review / Vinci, Giuliana; Ruggieri, Roberto; Ruggeri, Marco; Prencipe, Sabrina Antonia. - In: AGRICULTURE. - ISSN 2077-0472. - 340:13(2023). [10.3390/agriculture13020340]