Sustainability Assessment and Advice

We develop and apply ways of assessing and optimising sustainability in agriculture and value chains.

How does one build bridges between abstract sustainability goals and the specific situation of a farm holding? We adopt a practice-oriented approach that takes a holistic and context-specific view of sustainability – for teaching, research and services.  

Expertise

Making agricultural value chains sustainable

  • Assessment of and advice on the sustainability of farm holdings and agricultural value chains
  • Advisory service for individual farm holdings, projects and enterprises wanting to develop sustainable agricultural systems and put them into practice
  • Development of teaching concepts and materials designed to educate people about sustainability in agriculture in a practice-oriented way
  • Research into the sustainability of agricultural production
  • RISE (Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation) – our method for providing sustainability advice: training and licensing of external users, conducting studies and projects with RISE

Projects

RISE is a method for assessing the sustainability of agricultural production at farm level. It takes a holistic approach, embracing ecological, economic and social aspects. The results provide an overview and identify areas in which practices could be optimised. RISE is more than just a theoretical model – the software and working materials make it a versatile tool for practitioners. External users can be trained; upon payment of a licence fee they can then use RISE themselves. We also offer studies and projects with RISE. The method has already been applied on more than 3,500 farms, covering every continent.

Together with the Bern Farmers’ Association BEBV and Inforama we are developing an energy and climate check to measure the situation and potential of farm holdings in Bern with regard to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The results provide a basis for detailed advice on energy. This project has been commissioned by beco, the canton of Bern’s Department of Economic Affairs.

On behalf of aaremilch AG and Nestlé Suisse we are working on a project to reduce the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to the quantity of milk produced on pilot farms of aaremilch AG – without reducing resource efficiency.

Together with the Department of Conservation Biology at the University of Bern, we are working on a project entitled ‘The integration of agricultural production and biodiversity promotion in agricultural landscapes’ to shed new light on the relationship between agricultural production and biodiversity at landscape level. The aim is to characterise optimal land-use strategies for production and biodiversity and to optimise measures for promoting biodiversity. The project is being conducted by Silvia Zingg for her doctoral thesis.

We are involved in a project run by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) which aims to develop guidelines for food value chain analysis. These are primarily designed to serve as a template for use by food producers and retailers when performing sustainability assessments.

Team