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Towards delivering on the sustainable development goals in greenhouse production systems


Zhou, D and Meinke, H and Wilson, M and Marcelis, LFM and Heuvelink, E, Towards delivering on the sustainable development goals in greenhouse production systems, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 169 Article 105379. ISSN 0921-3449 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)license (

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.105379


This review evaluates the sustainability of tomato production in four greenhouse systems: high-tech (The Netherlands) and low-tech (Spain) combined with two ways of cultivation (conventional or organic). The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as defined by the United Nations, were used as a lens to assess the sustainability of these four greenhouse production systems. In total seven SDGs, including 14 targets, were assessed through 12 quantitative and two descriptive indicators. Conventional, high-tech greenhouse systems showed the greatest potential for positive contributions towards four of the SDGs. However, their relatively high energy use makes it difficult to achieve SDG7 on affordable and clean energy, where low-tech systems perform better due to lower energy use from relatively cleaner sources. Lower water use efficiency and higher nutrient losses in all soil-based cultivation systems are barriers to achieving some targets under most of the selected SDGs. Organic cultivation systems showed relatively high water and land use, based on the limited data available. Our review highlights the existence of substantial synergies, but also considerable trade-offs between SDGs. This needs to be considered when making policy, investment and management decisions related to greenhouse production.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:greenhouse production, quantitative assessment, SDGs, austainable development, tomato
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Sustainable agricultural development
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Sustainability indicators
UTAS Author:Zhou, D (Ms Dianfan Zhou)
UTAS Author:Meinke, H (Professor Holger Meinke)
UTAS Author:Wilson, M (Dr Matthew Wilson)
ID Code:142956
Year Published:2021 (online first 2020)
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Agriculture and Food Systems
Deposited On:2021-02-17
Last Modified:2021-09-03
Downloads:22 View Download Statistics

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