Environmental footprints allow consumers, governments and business to understand the pressure they put on the environment through their supply chain. Current models calculate footprints by following resource from primary producers to final consumers through billions of global supply chains. The goal of this project is to explore how to connect these resource accounts, as well as the economic models built on top of them, to spatially explicit environmental data. Layering in environmental impact maps makes it possible to do combined assessments that consider both resource use/production activity and observed environmental impacts.
The results of this project can help power tools allowing households, businesses, and policymakers will be able to see where environmental impacts of their decisions occur. Opportunities thus become available to involve actors all along the supply chain to participate in remediating their environmental impact. This way we allow consumers in Norway to link the environmental impact of their product all the way back to the farmer in Brazil.
This project pioneered new research methods on linking spatial environmental impact data to databases of global supply chains (MRIO tables). The project resulted in 16 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 14 lectures and presentations, and research results were featured in mass media including being heighted in Science and Nature Climate Change, and written about in National Geographic, Scientific American, TIME, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, AFP (in several languages), Le Monde, FAZ, El Mundo, and other international press.
The research begun in this project is continuing in the FRIPRO-funded BYMARKA project. Where this project aimed to link Spatial databases to the origin point of supply chains, the new project aims to detail in higher resolution where those supply chains and and what consumers in cities can do to reduce their total footprint.
- 16 scientific papers
- 14 conference presentations
- Media coverage on biodiversity footprints including from NY Times, National Geographic, Scientific American
- Publication on mapping carbon footprints highlighted in Science
- Project work continues with FRIPRO-funded BYMARKA project
Historically, land use has been driven by local demand for food and natural resources. Today, however, globalization means that consumer demand from around the world drives land use change. Environmental regulation and policy has focused primarily on reducing the impacts of production at the point of impact, but ultimately it is consumer demand that drives all activity. Consumers, and the governments and companies that link them to primary producers, can be involved in reducing humanity's environmental footprint and can work toward reducing pressure on biodiversity stemming from land use change. Footprint accounting links consumers, through global supply chains, to primary producers. However, current footprint accounts only provide results based on economic and environmental information at the national level. There is a need for connecting socioeconomic models to earth systems models and datasets that provide information at the grid-cell level. Earth system models and satellite datasets provide consistent global data across a variety of environmental impact categories including forest loss, land use change, and biodiversity impacts. The aim of this project is to link these empirical observations to socio-economic global supply chain models in order to trace land footprints in ultra-fine detail. As a contribution to the broader research agenda to comprehensively link earth systems models and multi-region input-output models (MRIOs), this project will therefore develop new methods via a series of specific studies that will serve as a paradigm-shifting starting point for longer-term development in spatially explicit footprinting.