Environmental Engineering Reference
We need to identify the existence of jointness to assess whether the observed
levels of commodity outputs are produced along with joint non-commodity outputs
or according to a more classical profit function (with separable commodity and
non-commodity outputs). This identification can be performed in two stages:
Identification of multifunctionality at the appropriate scale: does the farm, or the
area, fulfil several functions in the three pillars of sustainable development? The
presence of multifunctionality can be identified through existing indicators along
the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable development.
In the case where multifunctionality is identified, there is a need to assess
whether there is a joint supply of commodity and non-commodity outputs, or
whether jointness occurs between processes (e.g., the agricultural activity can
mobilise biota for storage and recycling of nutrients, along with the conversion
of solar energy to edible plants and provide a large variety in landscapes with
potential recreational and cultural value).
The qualitative assessment of jointness is necessary to determine if the degree
of jointness is strong or weak and to determine whether the provision of non-com-
modity output increases with the commodity output. Finally, the quantitative
assessment should provide the functions describing the relationship between com-
modity and non-commodity outputs at the farm level. This understanding leads to
three main areas of investigation:
Does the evaluated policy improve sustainability through a development of mul-
tifunctional features of agriculture in the targeted areas? In other words is the
ex-ante impact of policies positive along the three dimensions of sustainable
development (economy, environment, social)?
Does the degree of multifunctionality increase? A regulator may wish to sustain
the development of the area she manages through the increase of multifunctional
agriculture. Thus we have to estimate the extent to which this multifunctionality
increases, or to provide measurements: in places where the multifunctionality
increases (or simply develops) is it possible to determine the extent of this
increase (i.e. can we at least rank different policies according to their multifunc-
Does the nature of multifunctionality evolve because of the evaluated policy?
The non-commodity outputs of agriculture are non conventional products, but
intuitively according to the concept of joint production, most of them result from
specific aspects of the agricultural production process. Some of these outputs are
closely tied to agricultural production and others 3 compete with agricultural
production for land or other resources. In this sense, any policy dealing with
agricultural production is likely to modify the nature of the multifunctional fea-
tures in a region.
3 Like the establishment or restoration of wetlands, or the creation of wildlife habitat on farmland.