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 range of imports and exports of goods and services. A range of research work has been undertaken, but it has not at present been possible to develop an indicator.




No change from previous publication.


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 the 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 sustainable consumption and production.

Progress to date

No change from previous publication.

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

  • Analysis and modelling of trade pathways and supply chains for goods and services 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 in the UK and environmental impacts that occur due to production 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 further develop this approach.

In combination, these projects have defined what data are available on biomass flows into the UK economy, and the scope for undertaking the same analysis at country level using Scotland as a model.   


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Last updated: December 2015

Latest data: N/A