Sustainability in a One Welfare Perspective

Format of work:

Conference Presentation

Event presented at / Journal Name:

Seventh Annual Meeting of AWRN

Speaker / Contact Author's Name:

Lydia Lanzoni, University of Teramo

Speaker / Contact Author's E-mail Address:

  • Research aim:

    To summarise the approaches used to integrate Animal Welfare indicators in Life Cycle Assessment to perform a comprehensive sustainability assessment of farms.

  • Background:

    The transition to more sustainable farming systems represents one of the current major challenges including both environmental and ethical issues. Integrated methodologies are essential to tackle multiple objectives, such as environmental impact mitigation and maintenance of animal welfare. Life Cycle Assessment is a well-established and standardised methodology to assess the environmental impact.

  • Approach:

    Scoping review following the JBI and PRISMA-SR guidelines. Search in four bibliographical databases Only 24 papers (from the 1460 retrieved) were considered coherent with the inclusion criteria.

  • Key finding:

    Although Life Cycle Assessment was performed with a more homogeneous approach, compared to welfare assessment, some improvements are still needed to include all the relevant impact categories. No agreement was found in the methodologies and indicators included to perform the welfare assessment, even within the same animal species. Following the 5 animal welfare domains model framework, it was found that i) the most assessed domain was environment (41%), followed by ii) health (24%), iii) nutrition (15%), iv) behavioural interactions (13%) and v) mental state (7%). None of the studies assessed all the domains simultaneously. 16 papers aggregated the AW indicators into a final score, and only 4 papers proposed to associate the welfare scores to the LCA functional unit. Disagreement and lack in how the indicators were aggregated and weighted to obtain a final “sustainability score”.

  • Industry or policy relevance:

    Agreement is needed to implement the integration of animal welfare in sustainability policies. Adequate integration of the issues can help providing a more complete picture of the farm and can help in tackling the best mitigation solution.

  • Route for practical application:

    The research team has provided some guidelines to help in finding the best way for this aggregation, according to the aim.

  • Confidence in findings and next steps towards realising impact:

    Further research is needed to provide robust guidelines and protocols for this aggregation (especially to accurately define a species-specific minimum requirement of criteria that will need to be assessed to perform a complete welfare assessment that can be integrated with LCA).


DEMETRA project (form the Italian Ministry of the University and Research)

Links to Open Access Publications or DOI:


Lanzoni, L. 2023. ‘Measuring sustainability in a One Welfare perspective: the integration of animal welfare with Life Cycle Assessment – a scoping review’. Seventh Annual Meeting of AWRN, Great North Museum, Newcastle. 18-19th January 2023.