Indicator Economy and Consumption

Biodiversity footprint

The production, use and disposal of goods consumed in Switzerland are linked to land uses that can damage biodiversity. The “biodiversity footprint” indicator shows the extent of this damage.  It is based on the potential species loss (i.e. the probability of a species becoming globally extinct) caused by specific types of land use, such as agriculture and settlements, compared to the natural state. It is calculated differently depending on the region of the world: If forest is turned into agricultural land in Europe, the potential biodiversity losses are lower than if this occurred in a rain forest region.

The indicator includes land uses abroad that are caused by imported products (footprint perspective).

Assessment of the state
poor poor
Assessment of the trend
negative negative
Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2018: 5.00828674505557 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2018: 2.17865968422868 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2017: 5.09387167011494 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2017: 2.24255622079518 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2016: 5.03761198210996 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2016: 2.27389444741326 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2015: 5.12514234786515 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2015: 2.32994100731674 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2014: 5.07816764411709 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2014: 2.31067061053226 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2013: 5.05156320332218 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2013: 2.35838862527691 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2012: 4.78471421814622 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2012: 2.37398457084303 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2011: 4.76100809080528 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2011: 2.39728564561596 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2010: 4.71256455437724 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2010: 2.43693600250445 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2009: 4.50640739292343 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2009: 2.49813502953577 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2008: 4.57187368564189 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2008: 2.46784489257157 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2007: 4.63413501923567 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2007: 2.52153228457384 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2006: 4.43971665314659 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2006: 2.63320337885989 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2005: 4.20843001304209 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2005: 2.71417337544341 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2004: 3.98494842994413 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2004: 2.73839925297955 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2003: 4.05012985294915 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2003: 2.83881021843241 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2002: 3.86549490616557 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2002: 2.83483277071501 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2001: 3.82343950544702 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2001: 2.78829896068488 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2000: 3.86031328485114 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2000: 2.79450681327461
Pico-PDF*a: Potentially disappeared fraction of species due to land use (per capita)

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: EBP/Treeze 2022
Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2018: 42.7934413168695 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2018: 18.6156164957035 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2017: 43.2170694525722 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2017: 19.026138509535 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2016: 42.4144259639739 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2016: 19.1451679947183 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2015: 42.6777060986089 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2015: 19.4017123404934 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2014: 41.8322489442435 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2014: 19.0345327255808 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2013: 41.1178604482206 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2013: 19.1964131643513 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2012: 38.4646046825306 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2012: 19.0846044040814 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2011: 37.8722101416213 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2011: 19.0695970283267 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2010: 37.0596642063973 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2010: 19.1640939669271 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2009: 35.0860137182676 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2009: 19.4499947017698 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2008: 35.2119127770031 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2008: 19.0069859929217 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2007: 35.189276463756 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2007: 19.1472402737178 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2006: 33.3366735824313 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2006: 19.772036905777 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2005: 31.3912181463226 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2005: 20.2453666216244 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2004: 29.5487990727755 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2004: 20.3055097775672 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2003: 29.8257556563358 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2003: 20.9054185924486 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2002: 28.2716615159438 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2002: 20.7335501645923 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2001: 27.7415503180152 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2001: 20.2309297189901 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2000: 27.8099092212983 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2000: 20.131780780705
Mikro-PDF*a: Potentially disappeared fraction of species due to land use

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: EBP/Treeze 2022
Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2018: 99.9576525777155 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2017: 97.382576659768 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2016: 97.0556997313904 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2015: 95.6414358398388 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2014: 96.0928833681069 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2013: 94.1585326123697 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2012: 99.2025162071602 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2011: 101.4473661997 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2010: 98.0445658702022 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2009: 101.159110889537 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2008: 99.5663811833838 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2007: 96.5256745956958 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2006: 98.3931886258713 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2005: 99.1855157361162 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2004: 98.6292345436188 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2003: 97.1632450396278 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2002: 99.6788328108698 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2001: 101.770232714179 Changes in biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2000: 100

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: EBP/Treeze 2022
Comment

Per capita, the pressure on biodiversity caused by Swiss consumption increased by around 8% from 2000 to 2018. It amounted to 7.2 species-years per trillion species (pico-PDF∙a, see Method) in 2018. In fact, the pressure abroad continued to rise sharply, while the domestic share of the biodiversity footprint fell from 42% to 30%. Foodstuffs and animal feed account for the largest share of the imported biodiversity footprint.

Due to the growth of the resident population in Switzerland, the absolute biodiversity footprint has increased even more than the biodiversity footprint per capita, i.e. from 48 to 61 micro-PDF∙a.

This increase between 2000 and 2018 will result long term in the additional loss of around 13 species per million, or an annual extinction rate of 0.7 species per million. This means that species loss caused by Swiss consumption alone is occurring at a similar rate as the observed natural global loss of one species per million annually (Steffen et al. 2015). A comparison with the natural extinction rate shows that Switzerland’s biodiversity footprint is far in excess of the threshold value – the value which, when extrapolated to the world’s population, is in line with the planet’s capacity. Because of this and the increase, the current state and trend are assessed as negative.

The pressure on biodiversity has increased to the same extent as Swiss final demand; in other words, prosperity and pressure on the natural world have not been decoupled at all, and biodiversity efficiency has not improved.

International comparison

It is not possible to make an international comparison is not possible at this time for reasons of methodology.

Method

The method corresponds to the interim recommendation of the UNEP-Life Cycle Initiative. It is based on Chaudhary et al. (2016) and quantifies the long-term expected potential loss caused by a specific land use (such as agriculture or settlements) compared to an untouched, natural reference state and takes into account that different land uses affect biodiversity with varying degrees of intensity. It also takes the vulnerability of species into consideration and converts the regional decline of commonly occurring species and the global extinction of endemic species into “completely globally extinct species”. Thus, it subsumes – similar to the way the greenhouse warming potential uses the kg of CO2-equivalent unit for greenhouse gases – varying impact intensities under one indicator. The equivalents of potentially globally extinct species are integrated over the years (a) and quantified per million species (micro-PDF∙a) or per trillion species (pico-PDF∙a) [1]. It describes the likelihood that species will become irreversibly extinct due to land use.

Relationship to Switzerland’s Red Lists: The biodiversity footprint indicates the long-term potential species loss on a global level. Its approach differs substantially from that of the Red Lists and the corresponding data on biodiversity in Switzerland. This is why the biodiversity footprint cannot be compared with the latter. In addition, the biodiversity footprint covers only the main cause of species loss, i.e. land use. Other drivers of biodiversity loss such as climate change, nitrogen and pesticide inputs are not taken into account.

[1] Pico-PDF·a = 10-12 PDF·a (i.e. one trillionth PDF·a); PDF = potentially disappeared fraction of species; the term ‘species-years’ refers to this integration over time.

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Variation in % Observed trend Assessment
Decrease Average 2000-2002 Average 2016-2018 9.36% Growth negative
 
Last updated on: 18.10.2022

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