Revisiting the LCA+DEA method in fishing fleets. How should we be measuring efficiency?
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AuthorLaso Cortabitarte, Jara; Vázquez Rowe, Ian; Margallo Blanco, María; Irabien Gulías, José Ángel; Aldaco García, Rubén
Life Cycle Assessment and Data Envelopment Analysis have been repeatedly combined in the literature as LCA+DEA method with the aim of enhancing the utility of life-cycle based methods in order to account for eco-efficiency verification and environmental impactminimization. Despite its evolution through time, it lacks specific standards that norm the combination of the two methods. In this sense, this study noted that its development has evolved in the frame of mainstream cultural perspectives to measure environmental impacts (i.e., hierarchist approaches). Therefore, the main objective of the study is to compare the benchmarking results obtained through DEA computation using different Cultural Theoryapproaches to calculate environmental impacts. For this, a case study for the Cantabrian purse seining fishing fleet was chosen. Hence, three different DEA matrices were constructed attending to the three main human visions on environmental issues: hierarchist, individualist and egalitarian. All three matrices represented the same set of inputs to be optimized, but differed in the nature of the output flow, representing landed fish, energy content or biomass removal. Results suggest that optimization of environmental impacts is strongly influenced by the cultural perspective selected. In the particular case of fishing fleets, benchmarking environmental impacts based on anthropocentric views may be ignoring the health of fishing stocks and the trophic complexity of the ecosystems. Methodological conclusions are directed towards the need to define more flexible and holistic frameworks in LCA+DEA modelling with the aim of enrichening the set of predetermined assumptions, including the Cultural Theory, to avoid biased interpretations.