27 October 2022 update
The experimental statistic has been updated today. Following its initial release this time last year, this is the first annual update of the data.
The experimental statistic and dashboard
A new experimental statistic has been released that acts as an indicator of the global environmental impacts of UK consumption. Alongside is the commodityfootprints.earth dashboard that allows users to visualize and interact with the data, for example by breaking it down to see results for specific commodities and producer countries of interest. The dashboard is provided free of charge as a resource for any user to explore the sources and sinks of environmental impact and risk associated with commodity supply chains.
This is the culmination of a multi-year development process commissioned by Defra, with JNCC (Joint Nature Conservancy Council) leading on its development and analyses undertaken by SEI York’s Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) group.
The brief was to calculate the agricultural commodity production required to produce goods and services for UK demand and the associated environmental impacts (domestic and abroad): in short, the UK’s material footprint. The team assessed the environmental impact of the production and use of 160 agricultural commodities. The impacts measured included effects on land use, water, deforestation and biodiversity risk. The statistic was developed to monitoring the overseas impacts of UK consumption, but the results are relevant for global analyses of production and consumption activities.
The dashboard makes the full global data set available for anyone to visualize and interrogate. The data can be broken down by country for about 200 producing countries and 44 consuming countries. For countries without an individual dataset, the data can also be broken down into five “rest of world” regions.
The dashboard can be used to show the global impact the UK had on tropical deforestation in 2017.
It can dig into details to show the specific impact from the UK’s soybean consumption.
It can also compare the UK’s contribution to tropical deforestation (ha) with that of other countries.
Try out the tool
Explore the Commodity Footprints dashboard.
This work marks a world first as a government commissioned indicator for a developed country linking the consumption in its economy to a broad range of environmental impacts including deforestation.
For SEI York’s Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) group, it is the culmination of many years of work. Significantly, the dashboard marks the first time that SEI,s Input-Output Trade Analysis (IOTA) model’s outputs have been openly and widely accessible.
Dashboard development was supported by the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund through the GCRF Trade Hub (project ES/S008160/1) and Trase.