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A4. Global biodiversity impacts of UK economic activity / sustainable consumption


Indicator Description

Indicator under development. Production and consumption in the UK has an impact on the natural environment beyond our shores through the import and export of goods and services. A range of research work has been undertaken, but it has not at present been possible to develop an indicator.


Additional research work undertaken in 2018/19.

Following the adoption of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, the UK biodiversity indicators were reviewed, and a programme of work was put in place to develop and refine the indicator set for future reporting to the CBD. In this review, a small number of gaps were identified where there were no current indicators for particular CBD goals and targets. One such gap related to indicators for reporting on global impacts of consumption and production.


Progress to date

Research has been undertaken to (i) assess how patterns of UK consumption impact on the key drivers of biodiversity change overseas and (ii) identify options for mitigating those impacts. This research includes:

  • Analysis and modelling of trade pathways and supply chains for goods and services in order to identify important sources of production; and
  • Identification of the potential impact of key production systems and products on biodiversity.

An assessment framework has been developed to provide information on the direct and indirect links between consumption of goods and services in the UK and the environmental impacts that occur due to the production of these goods and services in other countries. A global trade model that retains product-level production detail and quantitative links to associated environmental impacts has been developed to allow top-down assessment of potential impacts. This model facilitates the selection of priority commodities and regions which can then be investigated in more detail using a case-study approach. Further research was undertaken in 2014 to develop this approach at a Scotland level.

During 2018/19, work was undertaken under contract to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to review literature and test the extension of multi-regional input-output modelling to measure environmental impact. The aim was to develop an indicator to support the 25 Year Environment Plan. Results of the contract are being peer-reviewed.



Download the Fiche, Datasheet and Technical Background Note from the JNCC Resource Hub

Last updated: September 2019

Latest data available: 2014 and 2017



UK Biodiversity Indicators 2019

Published: .

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