Indicators to assess sustainably in agriculture

Traktor mit Düngerstreuer auf Kornfeld

Agroscope has developed a new system with different indicators to measure sustainability in agriculture.

​Food production in the future should be done more sustainably. But how can the sustainability of farms be measured? Agroscope has developed a system of impact indicators to assess the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the farms’ sustainability.

In the environmental sector, the system comprises six indicators: resource efficiency, climate, nutrients, ecotoxicity, biodiversity and soil quality. The economic sustainability of farms is assessed with two key figures in the areas of profitability, liquidity and stability. According to the researchers of Agroscope, the aim is to consider both the short-term and the long-term economic situation of the farms. Human well-being, workload, animal welfare and quality of the landscape indicators provide information on the social dimension of sustainability.

Testing practicability

The indicators were chosen so that farmers can apply them without too much effort. Together with Migros and IP-Suisse, Agroscope has already launched a four-year follow-up project to test the practicability of the compiled impact indicators.