RISE – getting sustainability down to earth

An agricultural operation is sustainable if it is sufficiently profitable, environmentally friendly and offers good living conditions to those who work and live on the farm. With the RISE (Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation) method developed at BFH-HAFL, the sustainability of agricultural production can be measured and communicated in the context of agricultural extension, education and supply chain management. The RISE software has been tested around the world, is available in seven languages and can be used both on- and off-line.


Offer for students

As part of a student thesis, analyse your own or another exciting farm in Switzerland or abroad for its sustainability.

What is RISE?

RISE is a computer-supported method developed at BFH-HAFL, which facilitates a holistic assessment of agricultural operations. The evaluation is based on ten indicators that reflect environmental, economic and social aspects. The most important data source is a questionnaire-based interview with the farmer. The evaluated data are visualized as a sustainability polygon and serve as a basis to a feedback dialogue in which the farmer and the trained RISE consultant jointly identify potentials for improving farm sustainability performance.

The RISE approach complements existing control and certification systems. It can also be employed for monitoring purposes and allows to visualize sustainability trends at individual farm level and at regional scale.

sustainability polygon RISE Enlarge image

Multiple users

RISE can be used wherever sustainability in agricultural operations is an issue. It is a proven method for measuring and analysing sustainability. It is suitable for use in both advising and teaching to make sustainability understandable. The target group of RISE includes all stakeholders in agriculture, civil society and industry who are striving for more sustainable farming. Most RISE users work in agricultural extension, education, development cooperation and agricultural raw material sourcing. The RISE method is also taught at universities, both in Switzerland and abroad.

Numerous institutions have already worked with RISE, e.g. Nestlé, Danone, the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Bioland Beratung GmbH, the ETH Zurich, the University of São Paulo's College of Agriculture (ESALQ) and SEGES, the Danish knowledge centre for agriculture.

Listen to three farmers telling about their experiences with a RISE sustainability analysis of their farms and their reasons for recommending RISE to other farmers.

In use for more than 20 years

To date, RISE has been used around the world in 60 countries by more than 300 trained RISE users on more than 4000 agricultural operations. The operations evaluated include dairy, vegetable, arable and mixed farms, coffee, cocoa and tea plantations, African smallholdings and nomadic herders.

Contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In September 2015, the member states of the United Nations approved 17 goals for sustainable development which they want to achieve by 2030. These SDGs serve as guidelines for sustainable action for states, companies and organisations. The RISE method also contributes to the achievement of several goals: zero hunger (goal 2), quality education (goal 4) and responsible consumption and production (goal 12).

Sustainable Development Goals Enlarge image

RISE has been used and iteratively improved in development cooperation projects, research mandates and student projects. Our clients and partners include academic and vocational universities, vocational schools, NGOs, governmental organisations and the private sector.

How do I become a client/partner?

RISE can be used for a licence fee. BFH-HAFL or a RISE-accredited partner trains users in advance in order to ensure the quality of data collection through to feedback discussions. If you would like to use RISE or conduct a project together with the RISE team, please contact rise.hafl@bfh.ch

Learning to use the RISE method

The RISE team regularly carries out training in the RISE method for professionals in the agriculture and related industries. On completion of the course, participants are able to use the RISE method independently to evaluate the sustainability of agricultural operations.

Interested? Then contact rise.hafl@bfh.ch.