Tracking the environmental impacts embedded in commodity consumption

This dashboard provides estimates of global environmental impacts and risks driven by consumption and production activities. To achieve this, the production of, and selected environmental impacts and risks associated with, over 160 agricultural commodities across 240 producer countries are ‘embedded’ within domestic and international supply chains, with the dashboard showing how these are then linked with the consumption activities of 44 countries and 5 'rest of world' regions.

To navigate the dashboard, please use the drop-down menus below to select the focal perspective you are interested in and click 'Update Data'. The charts will adapt to present data associated with your choices.

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About

This dashboard is provided, free of charge, as a resource for users to explore the sources and sinks of environmental impact and risk associated with commodity supply chains. The dashboard was developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute (including the Sustainable Consumption Production group within the York Centre) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to support the development of an indicator set for monitoring the overseas impacts of UK consumption. The results, however, are relevant for global analyses of production and consumption activities.

Dashboard development was supported by the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund through the Trade, Development and the Environment Hub project (project ES/S008160/1), and the Trase Project. Production of the underlying data set was commissioned and supported by Defra. We are also grateful for collaborations with Florence Pendrill and Martin Persson (Chalmers University of Technology) and Thomas Kastner (Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre) who have provided underpinning data and methodological assistance.

We plan to update and improve the dashboard periodically as newer data, methods and indicator sets become available.

Methodology and FAQs

The data used in this dashboard are created within SEI’s Input-Output Trade Analysis (IOTA) framework, built around a hybridised physical-financial Multi-Region Input-Output (MRIO) model (Croft et al. 2018, 2021). In this application, IOTA utilises commodity level production and trade data along with monetary financial flows to provide estimates of the movement of goods from national-level points of production through to final consumption, regardless of supply chain length and complexity. These supply chains are extended via the application of environmental impact indicators, which in turn allow for the flows of embedded impacts to be captured.

The subsequent results allow for a range of perspectives to be assessed, compared and analysed, from the production or consumption end of the supply chain, across individual or multiple commodities, and over a range of metrics.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What datasets are you using to compile these results? The data are prepared using SEI’s ‘Input-Output Trade Analysis’ (IOTA) framework, which uses physical production and trade information (from UN FAO) and a multi-regional input-output model of the global economy (from EXIOBASE). Information on environmental impacts is compiled from various sources and further details on data sources and methods are available in our extensive methods document. We thank data providers and collaborators for making this data available for use. All the data are freely available to users in the ‘Get the data’ section below.

Where can I find additional methods details? A full technical report linked to the data and methods underpinning the dashboard is available via this link.

What does “consumption” mean? Here, “consumption” refers to the total final demand requirements of a country, and therefore links to the production (and associated impacts) necessary to meet this demand. This captures direct consumption requirements (e.g. production of fresh fruit and vegetables to be consumed as produced), indirect consumption (e.g. wheat grown for use as an ingredient in bread) as well as embedded consumption (e.g. production of soybean for use as animal feed, consumed within animal products). Consequently, intermediate demand is not assigned to the intermediate user, but rather the destination of final consumption (e.g. demand for ingredients used within industry is assigned to the country of final consumption of the finished product).

Why are there different countries/regions for production/consumption? We use a number of different datasets to link consumption behaviour and production (and associated impacts). At the “production end” of the supply chains, the most comprehensive data at the country level are from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which provide agricultural commodity production and trade data for over 200 countries. At the “consumption end”, we use the EXIOBASE database, which provides information for 44 countries and 5 “Rest of World” (RoW) regions. Results of the different perspectives are therefore presented at different levels of geographic resolution and detail in line with these data sources. For more details please see our methods document.

Why are there different metrics of biodiversity impact? There are a number of different approaches and datasets available for measuring biodiversity impacts. We include two, simple, alternative approaches, details of which are available in our methods document. In the future, we hope to extend this with additional metrics to provide a more holistic representation of the range of possible risk and impact.

What are “species-hectares”? Species richness-weighted hectares represent estimates of the number of hectares of crop production multiplied by the number of mammal, bird and amphibian species present in those hectares. The metric, therefore, highlights where there is overlap between production and areas of biodiversity importance. For more details, please refer to our methods document.

Why are some indicators only available for crop products? Our tropical deforestation-linked and mass indicators cover all product groups in the tool. For water, biodiversity, and land area estimates, whilst our data covers crop products we do not have equivalent data available to link these indicators to cattle and timber products. We aim to continue working to fill this gap in future releases.

In the downloaded data it shows WA, WL, WE, WF, and WM under consuming country name. What do these mean? Country and region names are from EXIOBASE classifications, where: “WA” is Rest of World Asia and Pacific, “WL” is Rest of World America, “WE” is Rest of World Europe, “WF” is Rest of World Africa, and “WM” is Rest of World Middle East. These 'Rest of World' regions encompass those countries that are not listed as a separate consuming country entity. Further details can be found on the EXIOBASE pages here.

What does “nes” mean in a commodity name? Commodity names are taken from FAO classifications, where “nes” stands for “not elsewhere specified”. This might mean a commodity not covered by other classifications, or that reporting didn’t specify beyond a generic classification.

I've spotted a problem/I have an idea/I have a question - who should I contact? We (the Stockholm Environment Institute team) can be contacted via info@commodityfootprints.earth

Get the data

You can download the full data set here.

Terms and conditions of use: We make the data freely available for use. Whilst we have undergone steps to check the quality and accuracy of data provided, we provide on an 'as is' basis. The user assumes the entire risk associated within any use made of this information and SEI, JNCC and other partners do not accept any liability for damage arising from the use of the information, and make no representation regarding the advisability or suitability of specific decisions made by the user. If using charts, data, information, graphs or maps from this site, attribution is required. You must clearly attribute the work to the CommodityFootprints.earth platform and provide a link to https://www.commodityfootprints.earth.

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