Skip to Content

Sustainable global supply chains

Trade is becoming increasingly global.  Within the UK, many of the products we consume or use are imported from overseas.  Imports and supply chains, international or local, have impacts on the natural environment, both directly at a small scale, by adding pressures to local ecosystem services and biodiversity; and indirectly at a global scale, through their contribution to worldwide pressures such as climate change. 

Our work involves assessing the impacts of supply and demand.  We incorporate information on where items are being produced or sourced, where the products go, and what pressures on the environment this causes.

Using a combination of data sources, we are developing techniques to map and describe the potential impacts of producing and exporting particular products on local and global ecosystems. By evaluating the impacts of trade/supply chains, and assessing options which might reduce these impacts, we are producing decision-making tools to inform more sustainable use of natural resources.

  • Ecosystem services

    Identify and quantify the links in the supply chain: Our work involves understanding and assessing the value of the key ecosystem services involved in trade and supply chains.

  • Bumblebee on flower ©Natural England/Julian Dowse

    Assess biodiversity loss: We assess the pressures that supply chains have on biodiversity and the natural environment.

  • Scottish grassland NDVI map

    Provide tools to evaluate options: We use our knowledge of ecosystem services and biodiversity to assess the impacts of supply-chain decisions on the underpinning ecosystem services, and on the natural environment.  These assessments can be used to inform decisions on more sustainable approaches to production and consumption.

Published: .

Back to top