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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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The MEANS (MulticritEria AssessmeNt of Sustainability) platform created on 1 January 2012, made its online tools available to users on 4 November 2014.

It is hosted by the SAS (Soil, Agro and hydro Systems) research unit of INRAE, in Rennes (western France).

Missions and objectives

The objective of the MEANS platform is to allow research teams from INRAE and its academic partners to perform multicriteria assessment of the sustainability of systems of crop production, livestock production and processing of agricultural products. This objective is divided into four missions:

  • Develop and provide multicriteria assessment computer tools to calculate sustainability indicators
  • Develop and share databases for multicriteria assessment
  • Train and provide support to users
  • Monitor scientific and technological advances in multicriteria assessment

Activities of the operational team

Many methods and software tools are dedicated to multicriteria assessment.

The MEANS website provides access to methods with the following characteristics:

  • At least partly developed by INRAE
  • Published in national or international scientific journals or conferences
  • Used by many researchers

Through its portal, the MEANS platform provides access to standard methods developed by INRAE and its partners.

It also develops its own tools. Currently, the platform focuses on environmental analysis. The MEANS team has developed a software tool with the support of ADEME (The French Environment and Energy Management Agency), called MEANS-InOut, which facilitates assesment of agri-food systems with multicriteria methods such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). MEANS-InOut software is currently operational for assessment of plant and animal production systems.

Implementing methods and tools dedicated to all three dimensions of sustainability (economic, social and environmental dimensions) is a medium-to-long-term objective.

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The Platform is a partner of ADEME's Ademe   AGRIBALYSE® project , which aims to produce reference data for environmental analysis of agricultural products. The MEANS platform implements the tools to generate and update the databases that will be accessible to AGRIBALYSE partners.

Evolution of MEANS platform