Sustainability and Environmental Metrics


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Metrics for Agricultural Transformation: Update on Recent and Ongoing Developments
April 19, 2013
Washington, DC

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Sustainability and Environmental Metrics

  1. 1. April 19, 2013Craig Hanson, Director, People & Ecosystems Program Photo: Mercedes SticklerSustainability and Environmental Metrics
  2. 2. Environmental sustainability component of the ATI• Scope opportunity to develop indicators of environmentalsustainability of agriculture― Sub-index in ATI― Stand-alone indexObjectiveBoundaries• Land-based agriculture• National-level• Environmental dimension of sustainability
  3. 3. Questions addressed1. What is the existing landscape?2. What thematic areas?3. What are the appropriate screening criteria?4. What are “long list” candidate indicators?5. What are “short list” candidate indicators?6. What would it take to design and develop?
  4. 4. 1. Evaluating the landscape: Summary of sources reviewedType Title Lead organizationIndex Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2012 Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy; Columbia UniversityIndex Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI) 2004 South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC); UNEPIndex Global Adaptation Index (GaIn) 2012 Global Adaptation InstituteIndex Hunger Reduction Commitment Index (HRCI) 2011 Institute of Development StudiesIndex Rice Bowl Index 2011 Frontier Strategy Group/SyngentaIndex Rule of Law Index (2012 - 2013) World Justice ProjectReport Africa Capacity Indicators Report 2012 African Capacity Building FoundationReportAgricultural Policy: Monitoring and Evaluation (2012); Agricultural Policies inEmerging Economies: Monitoring and Evaluation (2009)Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)Report Agricultural Science & Technology Indicators (ASTI) International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)ReportEnvironmental and Socioeconomic Indicators for Measuring Outcomes of On-Farm Agricultural Production in the United States 2012Field to Market, The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture,The Keystone CenterReportIntegration of environment into EU agriculture policy - the IRENA indicator-based assessment report 2006European Environment AgencyReport Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD Countries Since 1990 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)ReportIndicators from the global and sub-global Millennium EcosystemAssessments: An analysis and next stepsWorld Resources InstituteReportNational water footprint accounts: The green, blue and grey water footprint ofproduction and consumption 2011Water Footprint Network; UNESCO-IHE Institute for WaterEducationReportResource Revolution: Meeting the worlds energy, materials, food, and waterneeds 2011McKinsey Global InstituteData Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas World Resources InstituteData ECOLEX Global Database of Environmental Law FAO, IUCN and UNEPData FAO AQUASTAT (Information system on water and agriculture) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)Data FAOSTAT (Information system on hunger, food, and agriculture) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)Data Global Eutrophic and Hypoxic Coastal Systems World Resources InstituteData UN Information Portal on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (InforMEA) UNEPData Data Access Centre for Ozone Depleting Substances UNEP Ozone SecretariatData UNEP Environmental Data Explorer UNEPDataWorld Bank World Development Indicators - Agriculture and RuralDevelopmentWorld Bank
  5. 5. 1. Profile of existing agri-environmental indicators• Study/Project/Publication• Lead organization• Objective• Most recent year and frequency of update• Geographic coverage• Indicator― Theme― Metric― Unit of measure― Scale― Data source• Notes• Website
  6. 6. 1. Landscape of existing agri-environmental indicators
  7. 7. 1. Summary of most common indicator themesIndicator themeNumber ofoccurrences Indicator (example)Water use 35 Total water use for agriculture productionAgricultural policy related togovernment support 18 Agricultural subsidiesClimate change13Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculturalsourcesAgricultural production 11 Crop yieldAgricultural inputs 10 Fertilizer useLand use 10 Area of agricultural landEnvironmental policy 10 Participation in UNFCCC treatiesEnvironmental degradation 7 Area of degraded/barren landsEcosystem biodiversity 6 Wild species in agricultural landsWater quality 6 Number of dead (hypoxic) zonesAgricultural Research &Development 5 Public agricultural research expendituresEcosystem management 4 Area of terrestrial reservesAgricultural policy related tothe environment 4 Pesticide regulations
  8. 8. 2. Thematic areasWater Agricultural pressure on sustainable water useClimate change Agricultural contribution to GHG emissionsLand conversion Agricultural pressure on converting forests, wetlands, etc.Soil health Impact of agriculture on soil health and productivityNutrient pollution Impact of excess nutrients on environmentPesticides Impact of agricultural pesticide use on environment and humanhealth
  9. 9. 2. Identifying indicators per step in the “causal chain”Policy Practice PerformanceReflection of“on the ground”Ease ofmonitoringDirectly“actionable” bygovernments
  10. 10. 3. Screening criteria• Available• Accurate• Consistent• Frequent• Proximate• Relevant• Differentiating
  11. 11. Available Data are currently available formost countries globally.Data are currently available forsome countries, but collectionwould be required for additionalcountries.Data are not currently availableanywhere and would requirecollection.Accurate Data are accurate, reliable, andrepresentative of reality.The accuracy and reliability of thedata should be explored further.The consensus expert opinion isthat the existing data areinaccurate and unusable.Consistent Data collection methods/practices are consistent suchthat data are comparable acrossall countries within the data set.Data methods/practices may notbe consistent across countries andshould be explored further.Data are highly inconsistent acrosscountries (i.e., variation in timescales, baselines, defintions)Frequent Data are collected and/orupdated on a regular basis andat a frequency such that the dataare relatively current.Data are collected/updated on anirregular basis, but will be updatedin the future.The data will likely not be collectedor updated again (i.e., a one-timestudy).Proximate Data provide insight into theenvironmental sustainability ofagriculture relative to the theme.Data are relevant to environmentalsustainability in agriculture, but notthe best proxy.Data are not indicative ofenvironmental sustainability inagriculture.Relevant Data are highly pertinent topolicy decisions involvingenvironmental sustainability inagriculture.Data could be relevant to policydecisions, depending on context.Data is too generic or too farremoved from on-the-groundbehavior and thus are not likely toinfluence policy decisions.Differen-tiatingData are specific enough andproduce sufficient variabilityamongst countries to differen-tiate between good/bad actors.The data should be exploredfurther to ensure that it is specificenough to produce variability atthe national level to differentiatebetween good and bad actors.Data do not produce enoughvariability amongst countries toadequately differentiate betweengood and bad actors.3. Screening criteria (definitions)
  12. 12. 4. Profiling the “long list” candidate indicators• Indicator• Metric• Unit of measure• Data source• Performance against each screening criterion• Periodicity of collection• Number of countries in data set• How missing data would be gathered• Justification for selection/non-selection• Use in other indices/reports
  13. 13. 4. Profiling the “long list” candidate indicators
  14. 14. 5. First cut at “short list” candidate indicatorsPollutionWater Climate change Land conversion Soil health Nutrients PesticidesPolicy Existence ofpolicies requiringmeasurement ofagricultural waterwithdrawals(Yes/No)Existence ofpolicies promotinglow-GHGagriculturaldevelopment(Yes/No)Existence of policiesregulatingconversion ofnatural ecosystemsto agriculture(Yes/No)Existence of policiespromoting agriculturalsoil conservationpractices(Yes/No)Existence of policiespromoting nutrientmanagement practices(Yes/No)Degree to which thecountry has limited oroutlawed the mosttoxic pesticidesaccording to theStockholmConvention (22 pointscale)Practice Share of croplandarea with efficientirrigation practicesin place (percent)Share of farm areawith agriculturalGHG emissionsmanagementpractices(percent)n/a (1) Share of arable landunder soil conservationpractices (percent)and/or(2) Share of croplandunder conservationagriculture (e.g., organicsoil cover) (percent)Share of agricultural landpracticing nutrientmanagement (percent)n/aPerformance (1) Crop productionper drop of water(tonnes of cropproduced per m3water per year)in combination with(2) Water stressratio (waterdemand in m3 /water supply in m3)Total GHGemissions fromfood production(kilograms of CO2-equivalent per tonof food producedper year)Conversion ofnatural land (e.g.,forests, wetlands) toagricultural land(crop and pasture)(hectares ofconverted land peryear) or (percent oftotal land areaconverted)(1) Share of agriculturalland affected by soilerosion (percent)and/or(2) Percent change innet primary productivity(NPP) acrossagricultural land(percent)and/or(3) Soil organic carboncontent (tonnesC/hectare)(1) Nutrient inputbalances on agriculturalland (i.e., differencebetween N & P inputs andoutputs) (kg N & P perhectare of agriculturalland)and/or(2) Fertilizer consumptionper unit of arable land(tonnes of nutrients perhectare of arable land)Pesticide use perunit of cropland(tonnes of activeingredient appliedper hectare)
  15. 15. Some concluding observations• Environmental sustainability indicators and index possible• New data development and collection required• Potential for phased approach (version 1.0, version 2.0)• More analysis and road testing needed
  16. 16. For more information…Please contact• Craig Hanson, Director, People and Ecosystems Program, or 202-729-7624• Katie Reytar, Associate, People and Ecosystems Program, or 202-729-7653.