University of Tasmania
Zhou et al 2021.pdf (1.02 MB)

Towards delivering on the sustainable development goals in greenhouse production systems

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 21:16 authored by Dianfan ZhouDianfan Zhou, Holger Meinke, Matthew WilsonMatthew Wilson, Marcelis, LFM, Heuvelink, E
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.


Publication title

Resources, Conservation and Recycling



Article number









Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

Rights 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 (

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Sustainability indicators; Protected vegetable crops