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Go Bananas! What Everyday Foods Tell Us about Sustainability
This example highlights an interactive approach to introduce the Life Cycle Assessment approach to product sustainability.

By: Sally Russell (University of Leeds)

Session type: Single session, Undergraduate level, Large size


  • Product life cycle (life cycle assessment)

  • Food consumption (and production)


Introduction to the teaching example:

The exercise aims to help students realize that a product's sustainability is much broader than just the duration of time that consumers utilize it as students answer the question ‘how sustainable are your bananas?’


This activity serves as the introduction to a session on life cycle analysis. The lecturer presents two bunches of bananas to the class and asks which bunch is more sustainably grown. Then, while playing a humorous song about bananas from YouTube or a similar source, they ask the participants what they would need to know to respond to this question and where they would receive the information from. Answers are collected through a padlet.  The lecturer then gradually provides information to the students about the banana bunches, such as growing techniques and certifications (Fairtrade/Rainforest Alliance and organic/non-organic).  Students respond to questions from the instructor on a padlet. Finally, key themes are discussed in the plenary session.

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