Knowledge for better food systems

Methodology for assessment of global environmental impacts

International trade in goods and services is rising, driven by increased specialisation and globalisation of production and consumption. What are the environmental impacts associated with growing trade between nations? Is it possible to quantify the extent of these impacts and to create "environmental trade balances"? And what are the most suitable approaches to do this?
International trade in goods and services is rising, driven by increased specialisation and globalisation of production and consumption. What are the environmental impacts associated with growing trade between nations? Is it possible to quantify the extent of these impacts and to create "environmental trade balances"? And what are the most suitable approaches to do this? This new report investigates methods for the assessment of global environmental impacts of traded goods and services. It is the result of the EIPOT project carried out by a consortium of four European research institutions on behalf of the SKEP network (Scientific Knowledge for Environmental Protection). The report reviews and evaluates environmental accounting methodologies and specifies a suitable integrated approach for quantifying trade-related impacts from a consumption perspective. The report looked at five policy dimensions - economic, environmental pressure/impact, geography, time, and life-cycle stage - in order to understand the specific requirements for the methodology. The primary focus of the EIPOT project was on trade flows between different economies and production sectors within them, rather than on individual traded products. As a methodological basis, the report suggests an environmentally extended multi-region input-output (EE-MRIO) framework closely connected to the System of Economic and Environmental Accounts (SEEA). Specific policy and research questions can then be addressed by building upon the EE-MRIO structure, using various forms of hybrid modelling. For the EIPOT website see here.
 

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