Digitalisation in agriculture and its impact on social sustainability

Rolf Weber, Markus Frank, Jürgen Braun


Digitalisation in agriculture will lead to changes in the way farms are operated. In addition to the predicted changes in the ecological and economical dimensions of sustainability the social dimension which is examined in this publication, will also undergo a fundamental change. The social dimension of sustainability very often does not receive the same attention as the ecological and economical components. However, it is equally important and must not be neglected just because of the fact that quantification in this field is more complex than in the ecological or economical field. In order to predict which changes digitalisation will bring to agriculture a Delphi survey was conducted. The questions are based on the UNEP SETAC Guideline for social life cycle assessment. It should be mentioned that at DiWenkLa the material flows are in Germany. Issues such as child labor and forced labor which are major issues worldwide and which the UNEP SETAC guidelines aim to eliminate are not considered in this project. The focus is on how digitalisation is changing the social sustainability of agriculture in Southern Germany. The 17 questions were answered by experts in the fields of agriculture, sociology, agricultural extension, agricultural research, digitalisation and academia. The questionnaire is designed to determine the effects of digitalisation in agriculture on social sustainability.
The main objective of this study is to develop a consensus on how digitalisation in agriculture affects the social dimension of sustainability. In Delphi Surveys, several rounds of interviews are conducted until the experts reach a consensus on the issue. A standardized questionnaire with predefined answers is sent out. After a successful response to the first round, the questionnaire is evaluated and the experts received the same questionnaire, amended with the answers from the first round, so that they can reconsider their decision. This procedure is repeated until a consensus is reached among the experts.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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