Eco-efficiency as a strategy for optimizing the sustainability of pest management.
Additional Document Info
Agricultural industrialization and the subsequent reliance on pesticides has resulted in numerous unintended consequences, such as impacts upon the environment and by extension human health. Eco-efficiency is a strategy for sustainably increasing production, while simultaneously decreasing these externalities on ecological systems. Eco-efficiency is defined as the ratio of production to environmental impacts. It has been widely adopted to improve chemical production, but we investigate the challenges of applying eco-efficiency to pesticide use. Eco-efficiency strategies include technological innovation, investment in research and development, improvement of business processes, and accounting for market forces. These components are often part of integrated pest management (IPM) systems that include alternatives to pesticides, but its implementation is often thwarted by commercial realities and technical challenges. We propose the creation and adoption of an eco-efficiency index for pesticide use so that the broad benefits of eco-efficient strategies such as IPM can be more readily quantified. We propose an index based upon the ratio of crop yield to a risk quotient (RQ) calculated from pesticide toxicity. Eco-efficiency is an operational basis for optimizing pest management for sustainability. It naturally favors adoption of IPM and should be considered by regulators, researchers, and practitioners involved in pest management. 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.