Measuring the impacts of consumption in the UK of non-UK imported goods and services on global biodiversity

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York have built a model that looks at the pressure that UK consumption activities place on biodiversity overseas. The model, funded by  Defra, provides a framework for assessing the links between goods and services consumed in the UK but imported from overseas to potential impacts of their production on biodiversity in their country of origin. The model can be used to explore the impacts of over 200 agricultural products (and many other products of non-agricultural systems, e.g. mining, forestry and fisheries), and can break down consumption impacts resulting from demand from specific product groups. The new model can thus help policy decision making, by showing where in the world consumption in the UK could, without adequate mitigation, place the greatest pressure on resources, land use, and water and which categories of goods are responsible. By providing contextual information, such as relative water scarcity and species vulnerability, the framework also gives an indication of the potential biodiversity impact associated with production within a country.

You can read the SEI report brief with comments from the authors on their website here. You can download the full report on the Defra website here.

For other research that looks at the effects of UK/EU consumption on resource use overseas see here: - and follow the links through.

17 Sep 2013