EGU24-21001, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A tool for governance informed deliberation in Greater Geneva region:impossibility of current circular economy food metabolism

Alexander Folz1, Anthony Lehmann1, and Mario Giampietro2
Alexander Folz et al.
  • 1enviroSPACE, Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, 66 Bd. Carl-Vogt, CH-1205, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain

Given current world population, persistence of global diet, and considerable environmental damage related
thereto, food consumption is a major source of concern for environmental sustainability. In relation to these
issues, Greater Geneva agglomeration outlined several legitimate, albeit potentially contrasting set of objectives
for 2050 in its 2022 political commitment for a sustainable transition: preserving and regenerating local
biodiversity, reducing environmental pressures generated by society, while ensuring good health, equity and
inclusion of all its inhabitants, and contributing to the improvement of world population’s well-being. To
arbitrate between these conflicting pledges requires the use of an accounting system able to integrate them
simultaneously. For this purpose, MuSIASEM accounting approach (Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal
and Ecosystem Metabolism) is applied to the Greater Geneva region and Geneva Canton: it relates information
pertaining to (i) the diet, (ii) the techno-economic performance of the agricultural sector, (iii) environmental
pressures generated by agriculture, (iv) the level of dependence on imports. MuSIASEM allowed to characterize
the region’s food metabolism for a current Swiss diet and a more plant-based diet: with a current Swiss diet,
were Greater Geneva region to internalize all food consumption, it would require considerable increases in the
share of agricultural land and agricultural workers in society. Shifting from an animal to a more plant-based diet
would significantly reduce environmental and social pressures. In addition, viewing Greater Geneva region as
reference political boundary for assessing food security would render the former more environmentally feasible:
thereby making an extension of Geneva Canton’s biodiversity strategy 2030 to Greater Geneva – of protecting
30% of territory for ecological infrastructure – in turn more plausible. This study showed the potential of
MuSIASEM approach in characterizing a region’s food metabolism, yet it could be applied in other domains to
assess a society’s water, energy or human activity metabolism.

How to cite: Folz, A., Lehmann, A., and Giampietro, M.: A tool for governance informed deliberation in Greater Geneva region:impossibility of current circular economy food metabolism, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-21001,, 2024.

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