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 2015: 4.2041835232662 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2015: 3.2363379152161 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2014: 4.14843956974308 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2014: 3.26294794973663 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2013: 4.18718465329547 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2013: 3.3058559460311 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2012: 3.97848689899417 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2012: 3.34771959627942 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2011: 3.99970827424918 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2011: 3.39089315909631 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2010: 3.8726003792837 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2010: 3.43679870645658 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2009: 3.66326879047877 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2009: 3.4641553323586 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2008: 3.81427939200788 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2008: 3.49906821842959 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2007: 3.86502081804508 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2007: 3.54848396541941 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2006: 3.6465087447889 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2006: 3.57734662006929 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2005: 3.35764201096311 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2005: 3.59512328138946 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2004: 3.15722608785949 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2004: 3.62823978010189 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2003: 3.19069184676401 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2003: 3.68544703424461 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2002: 2.96464351618377 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2002: 3.70912748555493 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2001: 2.96926945574206 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2001: 3.73764303078177 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 2000: 3.08558893903014 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 2000: 3.75078688308073 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 1999: 2.89238198368745 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 1999: 3.76643883509577 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 1998: 2.73897822227534 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 1998: 3.81049222794395 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 1997: 2.60422270872247 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 1997: 3.83282752159516 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use abroad 1996: 2.67954358702217 Pressure on global biodiversity due to consumption-based land use in Switzerland 1996: 3.84592520467041
Pico-PDF*a: Potentially disappeared fraction of species due to land use (per capita)

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FOEN
Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2015: 34.8207127963658 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2015: 26.8046322036342 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2014: 33.9701155343371 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2014: 26.7191354656629 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2013: 33.8715854263971 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2013: 26.7422125736029 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2012: 31.8154067215774 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2012: 26.7712482784226 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2011: 31.6472837497527 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2011: 26.8300962502473 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2010: 30.3027494338609 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2010: 26.8926405661392 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2009: 28.3677380843108 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2009: 26.8258369156892 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2008: 29.1703729635533 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2008: 26.7597400364467 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2007: 29.1852244044941 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2007: 26.7950175955059 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2006: 27.2902344229317 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2006: 26.7726295770683 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2005: 24.9711731220059 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2005: 26.7373488779941 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2004: 23.3307199867248 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2004: 26.8113350132752 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2003: 23.4164938447847 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2003: 27.0475031552153 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2002: 21.5966987130938 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2002: 27.0200812869062 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2001: 21.45786220453 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2001: 27.01062679547 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 2000: 22.1676423352273 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2000: 26.9465906647727 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 1999: 20.6631508600253 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 1999: 26.9074051399747 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 1998: 19.4741406383341 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 1998: 27.0926073616659 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 1997: 18.461089985199 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 1997: 27.170554014801 Biodiversity footprint abroad based on domestic consumption 1996: 18.9493329954263 Biodiversity footprint in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 1996: 27.1978100045737
Pico-PDF*a: Potentially disappeared fraction of species due to land use

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FOEN
Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2015: 98.7574278825707 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2014: 98.8637925808723 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2013: 98.5112480353397 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2012: 99.557531606255 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2011: 98.944415915188 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2010: 99.2579118550935 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2009: 99.4911296705591 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2008: 98.0999485383284 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2007: 97.5277625197968 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2006: 100.674424243245 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2005: 103.035916869436 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2004: 105.347177082429 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2003: 100.392735648554 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2002: 103.182595769234 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2001: 105.447510954568 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 2000: 102.480222807868 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 1999: 102.34444983257 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 1998: 105.139419805683 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 1997: 103.137459562051 Changes in consumption-related biodiversity efficiency (quotient of economic final demand and the biodiversity footprint) 1996: 100

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FOEN
Comment

Per capita, the pressure on biodiversity caused by Swiss consumption increased by around 14% from 1996 to 2015. It amounted to 7.44 species-years per trillion species (pico-PDF∙a) in 2015. In fact, the pressure abroad continued to rise sharply, while the domestic share of the biodiversity footprint fell from 49% to 35%. At approximately 70%, animal and plant products (particularly foodstuffs and feedstuffs) have by far the largest share of the imported biodiversity footprint.

A comparison to the natural extinction rate shows that the biodiversity footprint is far in excess of the threshold value, which – when extrapolated to the world’s population – is in line with the planetary boundaries. Because of this and the increase, the state and trend are assessed as negative.

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 46.1 to 61.6 micro-PDF∙a.

In 2015, the pressure on biodiversity resulting from Swiss consumption was caused particularly in Europe (Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany), South America (Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Costa Rica) and Asia (India, Indonesia). Conclusions cannot be drawn on the biodiversity trend in Switzerland from the biodiversity footprint (cf. Method).

In contrast to other pressures such as greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, the pressure on biodiversity has increased to the same extent as Swiss final demand. In fact, prosperity and pressure have not been decoupled at all. In other words, the so-called biodiversity efficiency has not improved.

International comparison

This biodiversity footprint is the first of its kind at the national level. An international comparison is therefore not possible at this time. However, the national footprint of Tukker et al. (2014) is an indirect reference. At 0.029 km2 per capita, it is high in international comparison.

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.

 
Last updated on: 11.02.2019

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