Sustainable agri-food systems


​Background (completed research project)

Population growth, climate change and scarcity of resources are just three examples of the challenges that are facing the Swiss agri-food system. A wide range of stakeholders are affected, and the factors surrounding ensuring a sustainable supply of food are complex. This project uses environmental-economic modelling approaches to simulate potential development paths, providing a basis for decision-making in relation to the direction of the Swiss agri-food system.


Population growth, climate change, scarcity of resources and raw materials, international price inflation, technological progress and volatile geo-political environments: the Swiss agri-food system is challenged by a range of both domestic and international developments. Nevertheless, the fundamental question is always how to make food available on a sustainable basis. The influencing factors are complex, as numerous stakeholders participate in production, processing, distribution, retail and consumption of food. They all make a contribution to the economic and environmental impact. This complexity of the Swiss agri-food system makes it difficult to assess the impact of changes to underlying conditions and potential policy instruments aimed at improving sustainability. For this reason the project is developing a number of environmental-economic models and simulating the possible development paths. Various scenarios and policies are being refined in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders from the Swiss agri-food system.


The models can be used to identify synergies and conflicts between the provision of food and efficient use of resources. Interventions and strategies to improve sustainability are tested. Proposals from stakeholders involved in the project and from other sub-projects of NRP 69 are considered. Data on value chains and the environmental impact in the agri-food system are gathered systematically and will be published in a public database at the end of the project.

Original title

Environmental-economic models for evaluating the sustainability of the Swiss agri-food system

Project leaders​

  • Dr. Birgit Kopainsky, Flury & Giuliani GmbH
  • Dr. Rolf Frischknecht, treeze Ltd.
  • Dr. Heinz Rütter, Rütter+Partner Sozioökonomische Forschung + Beratung



Further information on this content


Dr. Birgit Kopainsky Flury & Giuliani GmbH Sonneggstrasse 30 8006 Zürich +41 44 252 11 39