Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental and Ecological Engineering


Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

John A. Howarter

Committee Co-Chair

John W. Sutherland

Committee Member 1

Fu Zhao


According to the United Nations, by 2050, if we keep the current natural resources usage trend, we will require three planets to support the lifestyle of 9.6 billion people, [1]. Undoubtedly to overcome this challenge is necessary we change not only our consumption pattern but also how the production system works. In one hand a systemic approach is required to reduce natural resources demand and degradation while increasing social welfare along the whole lifecycle of each of our economic activities. On the other hand, the member of the society needs to acknowledge the environmental, social, and economic impact of their lifestyle and the contribution of the goods and services they consume to these impacts. From producer to consumer, decision making in favor of sustainable development required the availability of comprehensive and useful information. Numerous tools have been developed to support sustainable decision making. Nonetheless, its implementation in an industry-specific sector is complex and challenging.

This Master thesis aims to explore the usefulness of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology to support different decision-making levels in the wine sector and its potential role to contribute to achieving sustainable development in the sector. For this thesis, the primary emphasis is placed on the environmental pillar of sustainability.

We selected the wine sector due to its potential to become a model of sustainable development for the food and beverage sector. On one size, wine has great exposure in society worldwide. Wine is one of the first agro-industrial goods to be produced and traded by humans. Furthermore, wine consumption is rooted in diverse cultures, countries, and social groups around the globe. On the other size, wine is a product vulnerable to the effect of climate change. To keep the sector profitability, producers will need to identify and implement practices for reducing resource use, degradation, and pollution. Moreover, in contrast to other products, how and where wine is made it is relevant to consumers. Engaging consumer to prioritize sustainable attributes when buying wine can have an enormous repercussion on the wine sector and its supply chain. For this to happen, it is essential to gather the adequate information and generate representative, concise, and manageable metric for sustainability. Hence, the implementation of LCA as a tool to support sustainable decision making in the wine sector can contribute to the effective implementation of sustainable business practices and consumer behavior.