Nutrition and environment: In brief

The food consumed in Switzerland is produced in increasingly globally oriented production chains, where imported food, animal feed and production resources play an important role. This relocates a considerable portion of the environmental impact abroad. Site-adapted agriculture and moderate diets with a higher share of plant-based food can help significantly reduce the environmental impact.

Nutrition is before housing and mobility the area of consumption and production with the greatest effects on the environment.

Agricultural production, industrial food processing and packaging, distribution, preparation and consumption are all embedded in global material cycles. It is therefore necessary to view their interactions from a system perspective.

Interaction between supply and demand

Nutrition, just like housing and mobility, can only be understood as system with complex interactions between numerous supply and demand factors. The environmental impacts of these systems are the result of the combined effect of:

  • values and models
  • behaviour and lifestyles
  • social and temporal structures
  • research, education, knowledge
  • markets and financial systems
  • technologies, products, services
  • political instruments and institutions
  • infrastructures. 

For example, nutrition, the area with a 28% share of the total environmental impact, is shaped by differing consumption patterns and diets on the demand side, and by the retail trade, the food industry and agriculture on the supply side.

Introduction of socio-economic systems (PDF, 73 kB, 30.11.2018)Chapter A3, Report Environmet Switzerland 2018

Nutrition (PDF, 126 kB, 30.11.2018)Chapter A3, Report Environmet Switzerland 2018

Further information

Last modification 30.11.2018

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