The 29th International Horticultural Congress | Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes | 17-22 August 2014
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Eco-efficiency in the Lifecycle of Horticultural Production

Sponsored by the ISHS Commission Sustainability though Integrated & Organic Horticulture

The Symposium on Eco-efficiency in the Lifecycle of Horticultural Production will be held in Brisbane, Australia in 2014 during the International Horticultural Congress (IHC2014).

The 29th IHC Congress is about sustaining lives, livelihoods and landscapes. The link between all three is the full assessment of the life cycle (LCA) of horticultural production: from cradle to grave, or from cradle to gate, if that is more apt. This LCA eco-verification is not only about ensuring safe and nutritious products are sold on the supermarket shelves of the world’s top supermarkets, it will ensure that the growers and suppliers can sustain their livelihoods. Further, it is about protecting the natural capital stocks of our landscapes in that life cycle: the soils, the carbon, the waters and the biodiversity of our orchards, plus right along the supply chain.

Increasingly, the global supermarket chains are the gate keepers through their control of shelf access, not only on the quality of the products they sell, but also the impact of the footprint from the production systems on our landscape’s natural capital stocks. Eco-verification of the life cycle of the products is being demanded by the supermarkets. Walmart has its Sustainability Index, Marks and Spencer have Plan A, Sainsbury’s have their 20-by-20, and the French are developing their Grenelle system of eco-verification. Others abound, and the competition is growing. Part of this competitiveness is being fuelled through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) getting involved, and the Food Ethics Council of the UK has recently released recommendations about water labels on food products.

If horticultural products are eco-verified using LCA metrics of eco-efficiency, then top-shelf access is assured, and eco-premium prices can be achieved. Everyone wins: lives, livelihoods and landscapes.

In this Symposium we invite papers on the following themes:

  • the changing drivers and demands for eco-verification,
  • the various LCA footprinting protocols for eco-verification in the marketplace,
  • eco-efficiencies in the life-cycle usage of carbon, water, biodiversity, soils, and energy,
  • plus end-of-life waste streams, reuse and recycling,
  • the ecological economics of horticulture and green growth


Dr Brent Clothier is Group Leader of Systems Modelling within Plant & Food Research. Brent is an Adjunct Professor in the New Zealand Life Cycle Management Centre of Massey University. Brent is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the Zealand Soil Science Society. He is also a Fellow of three foreign academies: the Soil Science Society of America, the American Agronomy Society, and the American Geophysical Union. Brent has published over 200 scientific papers on the movement and fate of water, carbon and chemicals in production systems, as well as on environmental policy and natural capital valuation. Brent is Joint Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Agricultural Water Management.

Dr Ian Goodwin is the Group Leader of Plant Production Sciences within the Department of Primary Industries Victoria. Ian has 30 years experience in horticulture research and development with excellent knowledge of irrigation, fruit tree agronomy and viticulture production systems. He has written several books on irrigation and published many scientific and industry articles. Ian currently leads several projects including “Profitable Pear Systems” and the Australia-New Zealand multi-agency project titled “Soil, water and nutrient productivity in pome fruits”.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Sarah McLaren is Director of the New Zealand Life Cycle Management Centre (NZLCM Centre), and Associate Professor in Life Cycle Management at Massey University, New Zealand. She has worked with businesses and government to integrate life cycle thinking into management practices, product design, and policymaking for almost twenty years. Currently Sarah is Chair of the Standards New Zealand International Review Group on LCA, New Zealand representative on the ISO 14046 “Water Footprint: Requirements and Guidelines” Working Group, Co-Chair of the Massey University Steering Group on Sustainability, and a Committee member of the Life Cycle Association of New Zealand. She previously worked as Research Leader at Landcare Research where she led carbon footprinting projects for the horticultural sector, and managed the Life Cycle Management Project to integrate LCM into the operations, management and strategies of manufacturing companies. Prior to that Sarah was Director of the postgraduate Environmental Life Cycle Management Programme at the University of Surrey, UK, and Chair of the SETAC Europe LCA Steering Group. Sarah publishes and lectures internationally in development and application of LCA and related approaches.

Dr Richard Stirzaker studied agriculture at the University of Sydney and did his post graduate studies on soil structure and plant growth. He joined CSIRO, Australia, in 1990 to do a postdoc on resistances to water movement in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum and has since worked at CSIRO on agroforestry, salinity and irrigation. His passion is developing simple tools for monitoring water and solutes that can be used in the context of adaptive learning. His current work focuses on food security projects in West and southern Africa.

Scientific Committee

  • Dr Brent Clothier (New Zealand)
  • Dr Ian Goodwin (Australia)
  • Dr Lexie McClymont (Australia)
  • Dr Roberta Gentile (New Zealand)