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Vollständiges Kapitel

Überblick

Der Landwirtschaftssektor ist einer der Hauptverursacher von Treibhausgasemissionen in der Schweiz. Gleichzeitig ist die landwirtschaftliche Produktion sehr anfällig für die Folgen der Klimakrise, insbesondere im globalen Süden. Es besteht grosses Potenzial, die Landwirtschaft und den Nahrungsmittelverbrauch der Schweiz ökologischer und gerechter zu gestalten. Dasselbe gilt für den Handel mit landwirtschaftlichen Produkten. Wir stellen uns ein Ernährungssystem vor, das alle Menschen der heutigen und, langfristig gesehen, der künftigen Generationen in der Schweiz mit genügend, gesunden, nahrhaften und nachhaltig produzierten Lebensmitteln versorgt. In unserer Vision bemüht sich die Schweizer Politik ständig, weltweit die Umwelt zu erhalten und gleichzeitig Gerechtigkeit zu fördern sowie die Menschenrechte zu verteidigen. Alle Akteur*innen des Ernährungssystems sind sich der sozialen und ökologischen Auswirkungen ihres Handelns in der Schweiz und im Ausland bewusst und passen ihr Verhalten entsprechend an. Sie teilen eine gemeinsame Vision eines nachhaltigen Ernährungssystems und unterstützen sich gegenseitig bei deren Umsetzung. Das Verursacher*innenprinzip wird konsequent angewendet und der Preis für Nahrungsmittel spiegelt die ökologischen und sozialen Kosten wider, die durch ihre Produktion und ihren Handel verursacht werden.

Symbolbild: Die Zerstörung des primären Regenwaldes durch Duta Palma in West-Kalimantan, Borneo.

Internationaler Kontext

Der Aufschwung des internationalen Agrarhandels hat tropische Wälder, Weiden und Wiesen in Ackerland umgewandelt, bedroht die biologische Vielfalt und erhöht den emissionsintensiven internationalen Transport erheblich. Die Schweiz ist stark auf Agrarimporte angewiesen. Palmöl und Tierfutter (wie z.B. Soja) werden zum Beispiel in grossen Mengen importiert. Zudem ist die Schweiz sowohl Drehscheibe des internationalen Agrarrohstoffhandels als auch Standort vieler internationaler Agrarkonzerne (Hauptsitz oder Zweigstelle in der Schweiz).

Die Schweiz muss für alle negativen Auswirkungen unserer Konsumgewohnheiten im Bereich des Umweltschutzes, der Menschenrechte und der Arbeitsbedingungen im Ausland zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden. Die Schweizer Regierung sollte sowohl geplante als auch bestehende Handelsabkommen, die landwirtschaftliche Produkte betreffen, revidieren, sodass sie strenge Umwelt- und Sozialstandards einhalten. Weiter sollen die Produktion und die Verwendung von Biotreibstoffen verboten werden, sowie auch die Spekulation damit. Biotreibstoffe werden hauptsächlich aus Lebensmitteln hergestellt und untergraben damit die globale Ernährungssicherheit. Zudem müssen die in der Schweiz ansässigen internationalen Agrarkonzerne gesetzlich bindende und sozialverträgliche Pläne ausarbeiten, wie sie ihre Emissionen und anderweitige Umweltschäden reduzieren wollen. Nicht zuletzt soll die Spekulation mit Agrarrohstoffen und Nahrungsmitteln verboten werden.

Symbolbild: Kleine Landwirtschaftsbetriebe.

Konsum

Was wir konsumieren, hängt von verschiedenen Aspekten ab, wie beispielsweise dem Marktpreis, der Verfügbarkeit im Detailhandel und unserem Wissen über das Produkt. Um eine nachhaltige Ernährung zu gewährleisten und Food Waste zu reduzieren, haben wir verschiedene Massnahmen ausgearbeitet, die unser Konsumverhalten beeinflussen. Zu diesen Massnahmen gehören eine Anpassung der Industrienormen, die Kennzeichnung und Preisgestaltung von Lebensmitteln entsprechend ihrer Umweltauswirkungen, die Unterstützung nachhaltiger Alternativen für Lebensmittel tierischen Ursprungs, Bildungsmassnahmen und eine sektorenübergreifende Ernährungsstrategie, die von verschiedenen Ämtern der Schweizer Regierung (BAG, BLW, BLV und BAFU) entwickelt werden soll. Die Regierung muss ausserdem sicherstellen, dass emissionsintensive Produkte (beispielsweise Fleischprodukte) nicht nur aufgrund ihrer Produktionskosten aber auch gemäss ihren “wahren” Kosten bepreist werden (Internalisierung von Umweltkosten).

Symbolbild: Ein Marktstand mit Gemüse und Früchten.

Produktion

In den letzten Jahren unternahmen Schweizer Landwirt*innen beträchtliche Anstrengungen, um mehrere anspruchsvolle Vorschriften zu erfüllen, welche die landwirtschaftliche Produktion nachhaltiger machen sollen. Die meisten Umweltziele wurden bisher dennoch nicht erreicht und die derzeit verfügbaren technischen Lösungen reichen nicht aus, um sie zu erreichen. Es ist deshalb notwendig, gegen ökologisch und sozial nicht nachhaltige inländische Produktionsweisen der Landwirtschaft vorzugehen.

Zur Klimakrise tragen in der Landwirtschaft vor allem die Viehzucht, der übertriebene Einsatz von Düngemitteln und die Verbrennung fossiler Brennstoffe bei. Deshalb muss einerseits der Viehbestand auf eine Grösse beschränkt werden, die dem lokal verfügbaren Futtermittel entspricht, andererseits Importe von tierischen Nahrungsmitteln begrenzt werden. Wiederkäuer sollten nur von Grasland ernährt und Futtermittelimporte eingestellt werden. Ackerland darf nur für Produktion jener Lebensmittel genutzt werden, die für Menschen direkt verzehrbar sind. So können die Treibhausgasemissionen aus dem Agrarsektor um mehr als die 50% reduziert werden und gleichzeitig wird eine gesündere Ernährung gefördert.  Die landwirtschaftliche Produktion hat sich primär an den ökologischen Rahmenbedingungen (Klima, Boden, Topographie etc.) und weniger an der Marktnachfrage zu orientieren. 

Symbolbild: Eine Kuh weidet auf Grasland.

Landwirtschaftliche Böden müssen nachhaltig bewirtschaftet werden, um ein langfristiges Produktionspotenzial zu sichern. Die Kohlenstoffspeicherung im Boden muss erhalten und erhöht werden. Um gegen Überdüngung vorzugehen, muss die Schweizer Agrarpolitik die Effizienz der Nährstoffnutzung steigern. Die angewendete Düngermenge muss dem Bedarf an Makro- und Mikronährstoffen der Pflanzen entsprechen. Eine nationale Obergrenze für die Anwendung von synthetischen Düngern (wie z.B. Ammoniumnitrat) in der Schweiz hilft bei der Erreichung dieses übergeordneten Ziels. Schliesslich sollte die einheitliche Mineralölsteuer auf landwirtschaftliche Maschinen ausgedehnt werden, um den CO2-Ausstoss, der bei der Verbrennung fossiler Brennstoffe in der landwirtschaftlichen Produktion entsteht, zu vermindern. Die Schweiz muss ihre Landarbeiter*innen und Bäuer*innen wirtschaftlich und rechtlich stärken. Die Arbeitsplätze in der Landwirtschaft müssen folglich dem schweizerischen Arbeitsrecht unterstellt werden. Beratung und Ausbildung in umweltverträglicher landwirtschaftlicher Produktion und alternativen Einkommensquellen im landwirtschaftlichen Sektor sollen gefördert werden. So können jene Bäuer*innen unterstützt werden, die den angestrebten Wandel des Schweizer Agrarsektors in Angriff nehmen und/oder kurz- und mittelfristig mit den dadurch verursachten Einkommensverlusten zu kämpfen haben.

Massnahmen

Massnahme 6.1 : Freihandelsabkommen

Die Schweizer Regierung muss sowohl geplante als auch bestehende, landwirtschaftliche Handelsabkommen überarbeiten. Die Abkommen sollen strengere Klima- und Sozialstandards einhalten.  Neue Handelsabkommen für landwirtschaftliche Produkte sollen auf ein Minimum reduziert werden und dürfen nur abgeschlossen werden, wenn sie eine Klima- und Menschenrechtsverträglichkeitserklärung enthalten.

Roughly two-thirds of the CO2 emissions that result from today’s consumption in Switzerland are produced outside of the country (FSO 2020a). Under the principle of territoriality, however, Switzerland and other industrial nations have assumed very little responsibility for the emissions it produces abroad in the past. In order to obtain an accurate picture of Switzerland’s carbon footprint and initiate mitigating measures it is time to acknowledge the detrimental environmental consequences of Swiss consumption, irrespective of where exactly they are produced. This also implies that Switzerland must necessarily be held accountable for any negative side effects its consumption patterns entail in the realm of human rights and labor standards abroad.

The Swiss government must revise both planned and existing trade agreements that cover agricultural products so that they adhere to strict and enforceable environmental and social standards. New trade agreements for agricultural products should be reduced to a minimum and may only be concluded if they contain an environmental and human rights compatibility statement. Any such compatibility statement must necessarily include the following provisions:

  • The trade agreement merely allows for the import of crops that are cultivated on already existing cropland.
  • Trade agreements are only possible if the production of the goods in the other country fulfills location-appropriate ecological standards and if the relevant government takes serious action to achieve and support a sustainable food production. 
  • The Swiss government must commit itself to provide financial support to agricultural extension programs in order to boost local knowledge on how to grow the traded crops in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner.
  • Trade agreements must contain provisions on how to mitigate the socio-economic and human rights implications of the agreement.

For trade agreements that have already been implemented such statements must be added where necessary. These compatibility statements must be complemented by an environmental and human rights impact analysis that helps assessing whether the products covered by the respective free trade agreement comply with strict environmental and human rights standards. In addition, new and already existing trade agreements to which Switzerland is a signatory party must encompass concrete provisions on how the exporting country continuously and efficiently monitors the production process’ compliance with these standards.

Based on the overarching goal to render Swiss consumption environmentally and socially sustainable, Switzerland must ban all import products that fail to meet these standards. The Swiss government must equally assure that Switzerland has the right to terminate trade agreements should other signatory parties to a trade agreement be convicted of fooling their trade partners regarding the environmental and social impact of the traded products. This ensures that Switzerland neither fosters the production of environmentally harmful products nor neglects human rights and labor standards abroad.

At the same time, it is crucial to acknowledge that a shift in Swiss diets towards dramatically reduced animal product consumption is key to mitigate the negative side effects associated with agricultural trade (Eggenberger, Jungbluth, and Keller 2016; Balogh and Jambor 2020; Jungbluth, Itten, and Schori 2012). The Policy Measures Concerning Swiss Food Consumption below fleshes out several measures that shall help achieve this: The Swiss government must encourage different Federal Offices (e.g. BLW, BAG, BLV and BAFU) to map out a cross-sectoral nutrition strategy plan that promotes a healthy and climate-friendly diet in Switzerland; Renders the production of plant products financially attractive and ensures that producers have access to technical support where necessary; Raises the Swiss population’s awareness of alternative diets; Stops subsidizing animal sourced food publicity and continuously increases taxes on animal sourced food. To multiply the impact of these policy measures, Switzerland should nevertheless promote to limit export of agricultural products, first and foremost meat and dairy products, in international negotiation. If traded meat volumes remain high and Swiss consumers resist to change their diets, the Swiss government must consider the outright ban of meat imports.

The advanced trade liberalization also forces Swiss policy makers to take continuous care of the Swiss agricultural sector. It is mainly the giant industrial agri-businesses that benefit from eroding barriers in agricultural trade. The growing dominance of these large industrial players poses a severe threat to local producers who are unable to compete with the masses of cheap imported agricultural products under an increasingly liberal trade regime. It follows that there is a strong need to ensure that all trade agreements signed do not undermine the survival of the Swiss agricultural sector that adheres to comparatively high environmental standards. Accordingly, no trade agreements may grant agricultural products access into the Swiss market whose production and transportation emits large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane, pollutes and depletes water resources or soil in the country of production and clears primary forests. Crucially, Switzerland must maintain the right to prevent environmentally harmful agricultural products from entering the country. Along these lines, the Swiss government may not join trade agreements that allocate legal arbitration power to non-transparent arbitral tribunals. Rather, the process of drafting, implementing and monitoring of those new free trade agreements deemed necessary must include Swiss politicians, civic community representatives and scientists and their counterparts in the respective countries.

Two final issues related with the endeavors to curb agricultural trade liberalization deserve attention as well. Firstly, we acknowledge the potential of agricultural free trade agreements to address imbalances of global food supplies by transferring foods from surplus regions to regions that grapple with diminishing yields due to climate change driven weather extremes (H. Huang, von Lampe, and Tongeren 2011; Ludi et al. 2007). If Switzerland can contribute to a steady supply of food products to poverty-stricken regions that are hit by the repercussions of climate change via free trade agreements, the Swiss government should engage in such “supportive free trade agreements”. Those agreements must nevertheless adhere to the general guideline of mitigating CO2 emissions and producing sustainably within Switzerland.

Secondly, we recognize the risk that discrimination of certain products based on environmental concerns might be in tension with WTO rules to which Switzerland is a signatory party. Legal experts stipulate that existing multilateral trade rules do not preclude the preferential treatment of sustainable products vis-à-vis their respective conventional counterparts at the border per se (Buergi Bonanomi 2016; Häberli 2018). Yet, arbitration in previous years and legal experts´ interpretation of the WTO rules indicate that the WTO is probably willing to accept state-induced Sustainability Ordinances that concern agricultural imports only if they do not distort full-fledged free trade (Buergi Bonanomi 2016). It is, however, essential that the WTO at least commits to the goals of the Paris Agreement and undertakes serious endeavors to mitigate trade´s carbon footprint accordingly. Modifications of the multilateral trading rules are always possible, and Switzerland should lobby at the international stage for the acceptance of trade barriers that demonstrably discriminate against products with high carbon footprint only. These lobbying attempts will only succeed though if the Swiss government grants radical preferential treatment to domestic environmentally and socially sustainably produced agricultural products, too. 

For this topic, see Policy 10.3  of the International Collaboration and Climate Finance chapter.

Massnahme 6.2 : Verbot für den Anbau, die Verwendung und den Handel mit Agrotreibstoffen ab 2023

Die Schweizer Regierung muss die Produktion, Verwendung und die Spekulation von/ mit Agrotreibstoffen ab 2023 vollständig verbieten.

Background information for this policy can be found in the section about Agrofuels. 

It is important to state that agrofuels are not a panacea to the global climate crisis and risk diverting attention from the ultimate need to leave oil in the soil. Therefore, the Swiss government must thus ban the production, usage and speculation of agrofuels altogether from 2023 onwards. This ban must necessarily apply to both the automobile and the aviation sector. However, based on the ample evidence gathered on the microalgae system’s potential to become a truly sustainable alternative to fossil fuels they should be explicitly exempted from the ban for the time being. This exemption must be both continually reviewed and immediately revoked if more evidence about the negative environmental side effects of microalgae agrofuel production appears. Until the ban enters into force, tight transparency rules must be enforced to make traders and retailers of agrofuels disclose full information on the origin, composition and production processes of agrofuels that are currently used in Switzerland. This will foster a better understanding of the features of agrofuels used in Switzerland and help draft the envisaged ban of agrofuels.

Massnahme 6.3 : Internationale Agrarkonzerne in der Schweiz

In der Schweiz ansässige Agrarkonzerne müssen sich global für eine nachhaltigere Agrarproduktion einsetzen. Zu diesem Zweck muss die Schweizer Regierung bis Ende 2021 durchsetzbare und verbindliche Rahmenbedingungen und Regeln zum Klimaschutz festlegen. Diese Pläne müssen die folgenden Aspekte umfassen: Berechnung der THG-Emissionen, detaillierte und kontinuierliche THG-Reduktionspläne sowie Transparenz. 

Switzerland is home to many international agricultural corporations (headquarters or branch offices in Switzerland) that provide inputs for agricultural production or produce and process agricultural output themselves mainly outside of Switzerland. These Swiss-based players must change fundamentally to render global agricultural production more sustainable. To this end, the Swiss government must democratically establish enforceable and binding frameworks and rules on climate mitigation by the end of 2021 for these companies. Based on these binding frameworks, each corporation must democratically elaborate plans to outline how it intends to cut down its emissions. These plans must necessarily encompass the following aspects:

  • A calculation of the amount of GHG that the respective corporation and its subsidiaries currently emit, as well as other environmental impacts e.g. on biodiversity.
  • Detailed and consecutive GHG reduction plans of the corporation and its subsidiaries that can be assessed quantitatively and align with the ambition of the Paris Agreement to limit the increase of global warming to below 1.5 °C.
  • The corporation and its subsidiaries must fully and transparently cooperate with the state to evaluate their compliance with both their reduction targets and human rights on a rolling basis. If they fail to follow the rules given by the government, there must be effective sanctions.

All corporations and its subsidiaries must necessarily commit themselves to only use already cultivated agricultural land for production on which no one has any claims and to exclude all products from their activities that were grown on land that was cleared to expand agricultural production.

The corporations should elaborate their plans on how to ensure their environmental and social sustainability democratically. This implies that both people who are employed at the corporations and actors that are affected by the corporations’ activities participate equally in the drafting process of the respective corporation´s climate strategy and have no lesser rights than the company shareholders or management. It is the state that controls this process. This inclusive drafting process ensures that the corporations, as well as the affected people and employees, remain in the driving seat. While the transition towards more sustainable and labor-friendly agricultural production will involve considerable costs in many cases, the corporations are demanded to exploit their huge financial clout in order to implement their sustainability plans.

Should the corporations fail to present their mitigation strategies by the end of 2021 or act against the targets defined by the state in the future, the Swiss government must elaborate sanctions that target the non-compliers.

Massnahme 6.4 : Internationaler Handel mit Lebensmitteln in der Schweiz

Der Handel mit Agrarprodukten in der Schweiz muss strenge Umweltstandards beinhalten, um dem Zielen des Pariser Abkommens zu entsprechen. Schweizer Handelsunternehmen müssen sich gesetzlich verpflichten, nur landwirtschaftliche Produkte zu kaufen und zu verkaufen, deren Produktion und Vertrieb der Umwelt möglichst wenig schadet.

Background information for this policy can be found in the section about the International Agricultural Trade. 

The trade with agricultural products in Switzerland must adhere to strict environmental standards which align with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. Swiss trading companies must legally commit to only buy and sell agricultural products whose production and distribution inflicts minimal possible damage upon the environment. To this end, agricultural products must be classified according to their environmental and social impacts. This classification should then be promoted by the Swiss government to create a level playing field in international trading relationships. Again, trading agricultural products that were grown in previous forest areas, meadows and pastures shall be strictly prohibited.

Additionally, trade must also guarantee living wages/prices and decent work conditions in the food systems of the exporting countries. Merely relying on Corporate Social Responsibility like the Swiss government mostly does in the realm of agricultural commodity trading these days will not do the job. Rather, the Swiss government must start regulating agricultural commodity traders and ensure that each trading company provides precise and coherent information about both the quantities of agricultural commodities it trades and where and under what labor conditions these commodities are produced on a regular basis. This high degree of transparency has ample positive effects. Firstly, it is key to address the numerous human rights violations and incidents of forced and child labor reported in countries that cultivate and harvest agricultural commodities for export in a targeted manner (Braunschweig, Kohli, and Lan 2019). Secondly, high transparency will help counteract rampant corruption and tax evasion along global agricultural value chains and thereby help exporting countries build up the necessary financial clout to enforce and monitor the compliance with human rights in their agricultural sector and even more generally. Ultimately, state-decreed compliance of agricultural traders with strict transparency rules will increase the leverage of small-scale farmers and agricultural workers in exporting countries over the powerful agricultural trading companies. If Swiss-based agricultural traders should then stand convicted of violating the compulsory human rights and environmental standards abroad the victims of this misconduct must be granted the possibility to sue them in Swiss courts. This will help restore the balance of power along agricultural global value chains. 

Those products which are not classified as environmentally and socially sustainable by 2025 must be blacklisted and may no longer be traded by Swiss-based companies from then onwards. Irrespective of this measure, the Swiss government must ensure that all Swiss-based agricultural traders respect, adhere to and help strengthen human rights everywhere. 

Massnahme 6.5 : Verbot der Spekulation mit Agrarrohstoffen und Lebensmitteln

Bis Ende 2021 muss die Schweizer Regierung allen institutionellen Investor*innen und Investmentfonds, verbieten, am Agrarrohstoffmarkt teilzunehmen. Banken, Pensionskassen und Hedge-Fonds dürfen dementsprechend keine Finanzprodukte auf der Basis von Lebensmittelrohstoffen mehr anbieten.

Background information for this policy can be found above in the section about the Speculation with Agricultural Commodities and Food. 

To strengthen global food security, it is crucial that agricultural commodity prices are both stable and determined by actual global supply of and demand for food crops. Speculators in the food market that prefer food prices to jump continuously in order to financially exploit these variations are an obstacle to this goal. Along these lines, speculative trading in foodstuff must adhere to different rules and principles than speculation in other commodities. By the end of 2021 the Swiss government must ban all institutional investors and investment funds from the agricultural commodity market. Banks, pension funds and hedge funds may no longer retail financial products based on food commodities accordingly.

A major exemption from these stricter regulations concerns the use of future contracts to do price hedging: Food producers, traders and on-traditional speculators in the agricultural commodity market may still use these contracts to hedge against plummeting food prices. However, to close potential loopholes in the food speculation regulations, the government should implement strict limits on the amount of food commodities an individual trader can buy and sell.

Massnahme 6.6 : Sektorübergreifende Ernährungsstrategie

Die Bundesämter BAG, BLW, BLV und BAFU müssen gemeinsam an einer sektorenübergreifenden Ernährungsstrategie arbeiten. Diese Strategie soll eine gesunde und umwelt- und klimafreundliche Ernährung gewährleisten. Die Reduktion des Fleisch- und Milchkonsums dient sowohl dem Klima als auch der Gesundheit. Akteur*innen, die in der Landwirtschaft tätig sind, müssen beim Ausarbeiten der Strategie miteinbezogen werden. 

Description

The federal departments BAG, BLW, BLV and BAFU should work on a cross-sectoral plan. This national nutrition strategy should guarantee both a healthy and an environmental- and climate friendly diet. This strategy needs to be elaborated together with people working in these sectors (agriculture, proceeding, sales, gastronomy). Their participation is guaranteed in the strategy.

Background

As Swiss consumers we eat three times more meat than it is recommended by the “Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office” (FSVO 2017). This overconsumption affects our well-being in two ways: it is unhealthy, and we produce greenhouse gases that could be easily reduced (Daniel Bretscher et al. 2018). In the meantime, one third of globally produced food for humans is lost or wasted (Schanes, Dobernig, and Gözet 2018). This estimated 1.3 billion of food wasted per year could feed the people that are still suffering from hunger today (Priefer, Jörissen, and Braeutigam 2016). According to Müller et al. (2017), the reduction of food waste in combination with less meat and animal sourced products consumption would allow an agricultural model without any need to increase productivity while still guaranteeing food security.

From a food-system perspective, a shift in our diet is crucial (see Current Situation). As consumers, our food habits and culture or even individual decisions can directly trigger the supply of climate-friendly products. The condition for consumers to choose a climate friendly and healthy diet should be improved with our policies, so that our society backs up and supports a climate friendly way of food production and a sustainable and healthy food culture. 

Especially wealthy consumers, that have a connection or knowledge about the production of their food can bear a great responsibility for the direct and indirect emission of their food.


Today, agricultural policy supports the production of meat, while other federal departments promote the reduction of meat consumption (FSVO 2017). It is not the only contradiction these two departments produce that slows down all efforts to achieve a sustainable nutrition in Switzerland or makes them less effective.
To solve this contradiction researchers, suggest cross-sectoral political actions, which consider the different players (Stolze 2019).
In concrete we would suggest that BAG, BLW, BLV and BAFU should work on a cross-sectoral plan. This national nutrition strategy should guarantee both a healthy and an environmental- and climate friendly diet. As for many issues in today’s food system, solutions like reducing the meat and milk consumption are working for both, the environmental and the health aspect need to be elaborated together with the auteurs active in agriculture and be included in the future plans for Swiss agriculture.

Financing, Implementation & Impact

The aim of this policy is to use the resources that are already used today in a more coherent and efficient way. Additionally, the amount of CHF 40 million that is spent to publicly finance sales promotion of meat and dairy products can be used to improve the elaboration and improvement process of the strategy. We can profit massively from the resources we already spend on these departments, if they focus on working together for a sustainable future nutrition- health- and agriculture-strategy or at least avoid breaking each other out. New decrees regulations and laws need to be in line with the strategy. 

Concerning the working strategy, it is evident that the people working in these sectors (agriculture, proceeding, sales, gastronomy) contribute to the elaboration and their participation is guaranteed in the strategy.

A central point therefore can be the support and development of alternative food products, but also income possibilities and models concerning businesses and actors. Therefore, the cultivation, proceeding, product development and connection between the different players within the food chain could be massively supported by educational programs, courses and training platforms for connection between the actors and specific efficient support as we suggested in Policies 6.8, 6.9 and 6.17.

A further supporting tool could be an annual published update magazine which is provided to all people working in the processing, distributing, delivery or selling industry and contains news and aspects about the current climate crisis and a sustainable food system as well as the latest common projects, progresses and new possibilities. This example - or further information tools - should not only be focused on greenwashing existing practices or glorifying tiny changes, but be delicately focused on achieving a net zero emission food system at the needed scale.

The nutrition strategy should be compatible with our needed emissions reduction path and needs to be controlled with accurate estimations. The work of the departments should enable Switzerland to adapt its nutrition to a sustainable, zero emission for both food produced in Switzerland and imported.

Policies in the following chapter can partly be suggested examples for measures of such a plan including a national food waste reduction plan in Policies 6.13, 6.14, 6.15 and 6.16. Even if ours would need to be improved and the list is far from complete.

Massnahme 6.7 : Nachhaltige Ernährung in öffentlichen Kantinen

Öffentliche Kantinen (z.B. in Universitäten, Krankenhäusern usw.) sollen bis 2025 60% ihrer Mahlzeiten und bis 2030 100 % vegan zubereiten. Das Essen muss saisonal und so lokal wie möglich sein.

Description

Each day one million people are eating outside: takeaway, in restaurants or in public canteens (BLV, 2016). Especially public canteens have a great potential to reduce the ecological footprints of their meals.

They can not only convey information about the environmental impact of food, but also show various delicious sustainable menus and offer them at a good price.
People get in touch with those menus, they may get used to them, start being interested in a sustainable diet or start seeing and knowing the different alternatives for animal sourced food (ASF) and the various possibilities for a sustainable and healthy diet.
Vegan and vegetarian sustainable and healthy menus should no longer be just chic or a luxury product they should become the everyday meal in people's lives.

Therefore, all public canteens (such as universities, hospitals etc.) should have:

  • 60% of their meal vegetarian or vegan by 2025;
  • 100% vegan and vegetarian meals by 2030;
  • Furthermore, the food must be as seasonal and local as possible.

Possibilities for a direct supply of food from local farmers or local food waste should be preferred. To organize this supply in an intelligent way and to get the connection with local food producers the canteen manager and worker should be supported by the work of the federal departments for example with platforms for connection and organization but also with help for their specific issues.

As described in policy 6.8, obligatory training for professional chefs and canteen workers on sustainable diet and how to work and prepare these foods will be organized. 

Furthermore, materials for information about the food, its production, the environmental impact and needed contexts should be prepared and free to use for the canteens. The canteens are free to creatively create their pathway to sustainable diets by 2030 and the target for 2025. They can have different priorities and are free to use the prepared info material or to convey information about the meals in their own way.

Finally, we propose this measure to be also implemented in the compulsory military service in Switzerland. The time of military service can represent a shaping period in the lifetime of young people in Switzerland. Rising awareness of environmental issues related to food might have a long-term impact on the Swiss society.

Financing

The canteens do not need to have higher costs. Money will just be spent on other food. For the transition the national strategy should provide the needed expertise. Education courses and information materials can be organized nationally so that the budget can stay very small.

Social Compatibility

It is socially compatible as no prices will increase. Especially, large quantities food with none to very little animal sourced food can be prepared with the same amount or even less money. In combination with further measures, it can contribute to a cultural change towards new eating habits.

Impact

The measurement should reduce the carbon footprint through sustainable diets in canteens. Based on interventions in 6 canteens in Zurich CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 42% and on average, by 18% given the right coaching on food and their impacts (Ellens et al. 2018). With our measures that go further than the interventions in the study, even more reduction can be expected. 
Also, awareness should be raised with the aim to change long term behavior of participants to increased satisfaction and demand for sustainable food.

Massnahme 6.8 : Schulungen für Köche und Köchinnen

Es sollen mehrtägige obligatorische Schulungskurse für alle Köch*innen und Gastronomiebetreiber*innen organisiert werden.

Description

Training courses lasting several days should be mandatory for all Professional chiefs and gastronomy-managers.

The content of these courses is intended to provide an understanding of the current crisis, the consequences and impact on agriculture and the food system, the challenge of a sustainable and productive food system as well as various approaches to solve the problem.
It should then focus on sustainable nutrition and mainly serve as a practical skills training in composing and preparing a sustainable menu as well as organizing access and connections to suppliers for sustainable food.
These courses (as well as aspects in Policy 6.6 or 6.9) should also serve as a platform to connect with people working or studying in other sectors of the food system.

Financing

As spending on this Policy will not be much, compared with the government's budget, we have not proposed a specific financing for these courses. There are several possibilities: For instance, it could be financed with a levy or tax on profits for major distributors and other actors in the food sector that made the most profits in recent years (and therefore profited the most from the unsustainable way food was produced and consumed and did not have to pay all the externalized costs - see Policy pricing). Otherwise, it could be financed with revenues from policies 6.11 and 6.12 or co-financed with the department’s available budget for nutrition or already existing education projects in the sector, for example by integrating the project into existing Universities, colleges or other educational programs.

Impact

The concrete Impact of such a measure is hard to quantify. Its aim is to create the necessary foundations and connection of people in the food sector to help create the possibilities for the necessary changes. It should educate people and enable them to work actively on solutions. In this sense it should also serve to make the other proposed measures realizable and to improve and guarantee their impact.

Massnahme 6.9 : Unterstützung der Industrie und dem Einzelhandel bei der Umstellung auf nachhaltigere Alternativen

Die Milch- und Fleischindustrie soll beim Umstieg auf die Verarbeitung von nachhaltigen Lebensmitteln unterstützt werden. So können mehr nachhaltige Lebensmittel produziert werden. Eine politisch unabhängige Beratungsinstitution sollte umfassende Informationen über die Umweltauswirkungen von Lebensmitteln und klimafreundliche Alternativen für den Einzelhandel bereitstellen. Sie soll Lebensmittelhändler*innen ermutigen, das Lebensmittelsortiment in Richtung einer nachhaltigeren Ernährung zu verändern.

Description

Cheaper and healthier alternatives to animal sourced food (ASF) should be available on the market. On the political level, not only research on processing of leguminous and other sustainable protein production should be fostered, but also the proceeding sector and the retailers, should be included.

Especially in the processing industry we have many businesses that have been depending on the processing of milk or meat like dairies, cheese dairies or butchers. For them the needed shift in the diet should not conclude in their ruin. Instead they should be supported in proceeding with more and more other foods with similar or different techniques and adapt the development of their products to sustainable food.

A processing culture that evolved by processing milk and meat can use its knowledge and capital also for the processing of other food. Especially those of alternative milk products or fat and protein rich foods. The production of yoghurt for example can, with a very similar procedure also be produced out of Swiss soy instead of Swiss milk.

In general, processes such as enrichment through bacterial processes can also be applied to various other foods and products, especially since we have much more knowledge and possibilities about microbiological and other enrichment processes today than when they were first developed. In order to fully exploit this potential, cooperation with universities and research in the field of nutritional sciences should take place there and be promoted.

Other qualities of the milk and meat processing industry, such as the good location and infrastructure access to the farmers, can also be used to process other fresh food or to find new products and opportunities to directly sell their products to consumers together with the farmers.

Retailers

An independent political consulting institution for retailers should provide comprehensive information about climate friendly alternatives and inform grocers about the environmental impact of food. The aim of this consulting institution is to encourage grocers to change the food assortment towards a more sustainable diet. It is crucial that also retailers assume their responsibility against climate change. With this measure the state could be an assistance to promote corporate responsibility of grocers and consumers against climate change. 

An example of a marketing idea could be that only sustainable products give points on customer cards and at the end of the year the customers can see how much GHG they saved compared to an average consumer.

Massnahme 6.10 : Keine Subventionen für Werbung für Lebensmittel tierischen Ursprungs

Die öffentliche Finanzierung der Verkaufsförderung von Lebensmitteln tierischen Ursprungs muss sofort eingestellt werden. Stattdessen sollte mit diesem Budget die nationale Ernährungsstrategie verbessert werden.

Description

Swiss government supports sale promotion for ASF with around CHF 40 mio (FOAG 2019). This public financing of sales promotion needs to stop immediately and is easy to stop. Instead, this budget should be invested in the elaboration and improvement process of the national nutrition strategy (Policy 6.6). These publicities about meat and dairy products shape consumer's perception, in a wrong way as we consume three times as much meat as is recommended and ASF products have a big responsibility on the climate crisis we are in. These spending increase the ASF consumption and work against brought efforts to achieve the opposite. 

The “Milk Day” in public schools should be replaced by a day about sustainable diet, especially substitutes for milk products and how they are produced.

Massnahme 6.11 : Kennzeichnung von Lebensmitteln aufgrund ihrer Klimaverträglichkeit

Wir brauchen eine genaue und transparente Bewertung und Label, welche die Auswirkungen von Lebensmitteln auf das Klima kennzeichnen. Eine solche Kennzeichnung sollte für alle Lebensmittel eingeführt werden und könnte zudem als Grundlage für eine neue Bepreisung genutzt werden.

Description

Food prices were assessed to be a major driver for consumer’s buying decision in Switzerland (Stolz et al. 2017). These prices however mostly only include the direct costs of production but do not account for the impacts on quantity and quality of natural capital (see Policy 1.2. in the Cross Sectoral chapter). 

For the implementation of an effective and socially compatible labelling and pricing for food products there is a need for accurate and transparent assessment of the climate impact on food and mechanisms ensuring the ability for lower income households to afford a diverse and high-quality diet.

Regarding the assessment of climate impacts of food products there has already been a lot of research being done and there are extensive databases on the environmental impacts of several food products and categories (Poore and Nemecek 2018). Such a labelling should in a first step be implemented for all food products and could further serve as a basis for a pricing policy.

Financing

Tax revenues can be earmarked for developing clean technologies. They could also be earmarked to compensate for incurred damages from climate change, or they could just be fused with the general tax revenue of the government. One approach would also be to use them in so-called “refunded emission payments”. In those, only a small part of the tax revenue would be used for administration of the instrument, while the largest part for it would be redistributed to the payers, depending on their relative emission performance: Those that are better than the average get money back, those that are worse pay. Such a scheme has slightly lower emission reduction incentives (as part of the money flows back), but it can be more acceptable among the targeted industries or consumers.

Impact

A pricing of food products according to their actual environmental impact would influence the buying decisions of consumers, with resource-intensive and environmentally harmful products being less demanded and likely less wasted once bought.

Pricing policies (True Cost Accounting) can be crucial for the transition towards sustainable food systems. The leading audit and advisory firm KPMG estimated the environmental costs of food production to reach 200 bn USD in 2012, making the food industry the most environmentally detrimental industry. In comparison, the global oil and gas industry was accountable for 150 billion USD of environmental costs according to the consultancy (Averchenkova et al. 2012). In 2014, the FAO estimated that environmental and social costs of global food waste – which amounts to roughly one third of global food production – cost society at least 700 and 900 billion USD, respectively (Scialabba et al. 2014). Although the calculation of these numbers show an increasing interest in the consideration of the food system as an entity, most existing numbers address only selected food system externalities. True Cost Accounting aims to include all these externalities and is promoted as a key methodology to inform the development of sustainable food system policies (Aspenson 2020). True Cost Accounting can be utilized to include considerations of other important externalities into food and agriculture policies. Only a holistic consideration of the food system and its impacts will lead to a truly sustainable food system.

Social Compatibility

There is a need for mechanisms ensuring the ability for lower income households to afford a diverse and high-quality diet which is discussed in the cross-sectoral chapter on GHG pricing. 

Questions and Uncertainties

Are discussed in detail in the policy 2 on GHG pricing in the cross sectorial chapter.

Massnahme 6.12 : Steuern auf Lebensmittel tierischen Ursprungs

Wir schlagen höhere Steuersätze für Lebensmittel tierischer Herkunft vor, um die wahren Kosten für die Umwelt und die Gesellschaft widerzuspiegeln. Lebensmittel tierischen Ursprungs sollten von der reduzierten Mehrwertsteuer ausgenommen werden. Mögliche weitere Massnahmen sind: höhere Steuern, die jedes Jahr steigen, wenn ein bestimmtes THG-Ziel nicht erreicht wird. Oder, Lebensmitteln werden hinsichtlich ihrer durchschnittlichen Emissionen besteuert und Fleischzertifikate werden eingeführt.

Description

We suggest higher tax rates on ASF to reflect the true cost on the environment and on the society. 

As a first step for a tax system towards a sustainable diet we suggest a small change in the national tax system. ASF should be excluded from the reduced value-added tax (VAT). In Switzerland all food items are taxed at a reduced rate of 2.5%. The normal VAT rate for most other products is 7.7% (Die Schweizer Behörden online 2020). ASF should not be included in this reduced VAT, as their production causes environmental pollution, which triggers climate change (Bundesamt für Umwelt (BAFU / FOEN) 2019). Therefore, we suggest that products containing ASF are included in the normal VAT rate. All products containing more than 5% ASF should be taxed with a VAT rate of 7.7% irrespectively if they are produced in Switzerland or imported.

This first step is rather easy to implement and the administrative costs are low, as there exists already different VAT rates (Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft 2004). The change should enter into force by the 1st 2022. The legal basis can be found in Art. 130 of the federal constitution, whereas the federation can change value added tax rates from a reduced to a normal tax rate on any objects. 
With this political measure we want to achieve two effects: On one side, a higher governmental revenue through the increased tax rate. On the other hand, should the slightly higher prices for ASF products show the consumers that these products have higher environmental costs than other food items. 
The policy should be a first step towards a sustainable diet:

  • The price increase of 5.2% for ASF is not enough to change the consumers purchase behavior. Therefore, we suggest a dynamic tax rate approach: The tax will be higher each year if a specific GHG aim is not reached.
  • For the future we suggest taxing food concerning its average emission, which would be more accurate, but also would mean an additional administrative effort. A feasibility analysis on specific GHG emission tax for different food categories should be conducted until January, the 1st 2023.
  • Another approach or a complementary measure would be to introduce certificates on meat. The federation auctioned off a few certificates, which empower to slaughter animals or import meat. This would allow direct control of the availability and therefore the consumption of meat can be easily reduced. The number of certificates available needs to be strictly linked to the emission goal of net zero by 2030.

Financing

This measure will generate money that can be used for implementing other measures. 

Impact

Broeks et al. (2020) were the first to create a model study including and monetizing social costs and benefits of a 15% or 30% meat tax or a 10% fruit and vegetables subsidy in the Netherlands. The outcome shows that all three interventions could lead to a net benefit to society over a 30-year time frame.

To our knowledge no country has yet implemented taxes on ASF. Neither did anyone research about the impact of such a tax in the Swiss context. Therefore, we cannot say if a higher VAT rate of 7.7% would trigger the consumers to buy less ASF or if we can reduce GHG emissions at all with this policy. However, it is very clear that the meat consumption must be reduced as emissions from animal husbandry must be reduced. 

An interesting side effect is that the overconsumption of meat is shown to be the cause of several illnesses (Richi et al. 2015). If we can reduce this overconsumption, we can also reduce health costs.

Social Compatibility

Farmers: Animals, especially cows are part of the cultural heritage of Switzerland. They are the pride of most farmers. Tax revenue shall be used to financially support farmers wishing for a transition from ASF to more sustainable crops using the current administration for agricultural subsidies.

As the sales of ASF might decrease, farmers and retailers will have less revenue. Mechanisms which are described in the other policies should help farmers and retailers to get other income sources. 
Retailers: Retailing is dominated by Coop, Migros and Fenaco. We cannot imagine that these three companies would be hardly affected by our policy, as these retailers sell a lot of other products, where they can get revenue from. However, retailers, which only depend on selling ASF, will be affected. For them a supported reorganization is needed. 

Consumers: Swiss people spend on average around 6% of their monthly budget on food (FSO 2017a). A tax of this kind will of course bring a strong financial pressure not to buy meat. However, we believe this is acceptable since meat is not the only type of food available. In fact, it will probably be cheaper to cook with less meat and should not be a problem if consumers are educated on how to cook with alternatives. 

Authors of studies modeling such taxes affirm that the use of tax revenues is critical for acceptability considering its economic effects (Caillavet, Fadhuile, and Nichele 2019) hence the revenue shall be directed to satisfy as many stakeholders as possible.

Massnahme 6.13 : Aufklärung über Food Waste und Sensibilisierung

Die Produktion von Nahrungsmitteln, ihre Auswirkungen auf die Umwelt, sowie die Bedeutung von Saisonalität und Lokalität müssen in der Schweiz auf allen Ebenen Teil des Lehrplans sein. 

Households are responsible for about one third of the total food waste in Switzerland (in terms of fresh matter). The extent of food waste heavily depends upon the societal value we give food. Food waste at the household level might be driven by a devaluation of food, meaning that we no longer value food as something essential for life, a lack of knowledge of how food is produced (e.g., resources and energy used, farmer’s commitment) as well as a loss of food cultures in the course of globalization. These things lead to a loss of social and emotional linkages to food.

We consider a lack of knowledge and awareness to be a major driver for this development and thus consider the targeting of food related topics in education as one of the most important measures to combat food waste. The production of food, its impacts on the environment as well as the meaning of seasonality and locality needs to be part of the educational schedule in the Swiss education system at all levels. We thereby consider practical experience in the form of field work on farms, excursions to farmers or any stakeholder in the food chain. Foremost there should also be practical skills training in conserving and storing food, in assessing what is still edible and what is not as well as healthy, sustainable and waste-free cooking classes.

A further possibility to increase the experienced value of food for consumers, is to increase their contact with producers. This should lead to less food waste and possibilities for direct selling from farms but also from the processing sector as they are already increasing today and should be supported further as described in Policy 6.9, 6.20 and 6.21. One possibility to concretely reduce food waste with that is to sell and buy non-tradable food in farm shops.

Massnahme 6.14 : Neue Kennzeichnung von Verfallsdaten

Die Lebensmitteletiketten "Verkaufen bis..." und "Mindestens haltbar bis..." müssen den Verbraucher*innen verständlicher vermittelt oder ganz weggelassen werden.

Largest environmental impact of food waste can be attributed to the last stages of the food chain due to the resources needed for transporting, processing and storing of the respective goods (Beretta and Hellweg 2019). Food waste at the respective stages (especially at the retail, catering and household stage) might be considerably supported by misinterpretations and confusion on the food labelling concepts ‘sell until’, ‘best before date’ and ‘expiration’. Expiration dates are of great importance regarding food safety and human health as they indicate the potential of contamination by microorganisms producing harmful toxins. However, these are only mandatory for products which need continuous cooling throughout the food chain and that can represent a health risk even if their smell and taste are normal. The ‘best before date’ indicates the date until a specific food product maintains ‘original’ quality regarding for example smell, consistency or color. This however does not mean that the respective product cannot be consumed thereafter and should not be interpreted as an expiration date. Finally, some products are currently still labelled with a ‘sell until’ label which does not indicate any quality or health aspect at all (FSVO 2014). To avoid misinterpretations with expiration dates, the food labels ‘sell until’ and ‘best before’ need to be communicated clearer to the consumer or even better be omitted completely. 

Massnahme 6.15 : Anpassung der Industrienormen

Eine Reduzierung der Lebensmittelabfälle aus der landwirtschaftlichen Produktion kann mittels einer Anpassung der Industrienormen erreicht werden. Weniger Produkte sollen aufgrund von Grösse, Form, Farbe oder anderen Standards, die die Lebensmittelqualität nicht beeinflussen, abgelehnt werden.

From the total Swiss agricultural food production for human consumption about 225’000 tons of fresh matter is not used as food and ends up as food waste. From these 225’000 tons about 90% is considered potentially avoidable. Main sources for food waste at this production stage are the failure to comply with industry norms and unsuitable storage (Baier et al. 2017). Assuming an average price of CHF 3 per kg of fresh matter, this corresponds to a value of CHF 600 mio per year.

A reduction of food waste from the agricultural production can be achieved by adjusting the industry norms so that less of the products are rejected due to size, form, color or other appearance quality standards not influencing food quality. There are several ways how an adjustment of industry norms could be carried out. One way would be to carry out a mandatory consumer survey to set norms adjusted to consumer’s needs. Another possibility would be to omit industry norms completely so that food processing companies must accept all products from a specific farmer. It then is in the competence of the companies to decide on which agricultural resources they can use for further processing and which not. This would additionally increase product innovation to enable the use of the entire quality spectrum of the products delivered by the farmers. In any case, fair sectoral agreements between farmers, industry and retailers are needed. 

Massnahme 6.16 : Förderung von Projekten zur Reduktion von Lebensmittelabfällen

Bestehende Projekte und die Entwicklung neuer Projekte zur Reduzierung von Food Waste sollten auf allen Stufen des Ernährungssystems gefördert werden.

If food waste cannot be prevented by the depicted measures, still the most efficient use of the respective goods should be enabled. In several cities of Switzerland there is an increase in communities which try to establish concepts to ensure this. These ‘food sharing’ communities, for instance, make overproduced food or leftovers freely available in public fridges. However, considering the total mass of food waste across all stages of the food chain, these initiatives reduce food waste only to a very limited extent. Thus, the promotion and up-scaling of such activities at all stages of the food chain have a large potential to decrease food waste in Switzerland. Governmental actions in this context could include the adjustment of law and regulations to enable such activities on a legal basis, the creation of a fund specifically supporting start-ups which develop concepts and technologies to use food resources which were discarded at the industry, retail or gastronomy stages, the provision of consulting for such start-ups, the promotion of food sharing activities at the community level or the provision of energy-efficient infrastructure for such.

Massnahme 6.17 : Berufsausbildung für Landwirt*innen anpassen

Die Ausbildung sollte ein Verständnis für die Klimakrise, ihre Folgen und Auswirkungen auf die Landwirtschaft beinhalten. Ebenfalls müssen die Vorteile eines nachhaltigen und produktiven Ernährungssystems weitergegeben werden. Theoretische und praktische Übungen zum Kennenlernen von Aspekten der Klimakrise und nachhaltiger Lösungen zusammen mit anderen Akteur*innen des Ernährungssystems sollten integraler Bestandteil der Berufsausbildung sein.

Description

Aspiring farmers should be prepared for the challenges they face concerning food production in the 21st century and the current climate crisis, and be equipped with the necessary skills. Therefore, today's vocational education for farmers needs to be updated.

The education should contain an understanding of the climate crisis, its consequences and impacts on agriculture and the challenge of a sustainable and productive food system. Only methods and techniques that are sustainable and compatible with the following measures of the chapter should be learned. Accordingly, livestock farming should be less centrally located, and more focus should be placed on resource-conserving and productive food cultivation. Agro-ecological methods should be introduced and learnt, as well as skills in understanding the local impacts of the climate crisis and adaptation possibilities.

Within their education the future farmers should also have the possibility to get in touch with other people working in the food sector as well as students in the field. (See Policies 6.6, 6.8 and 6.9..) Project-weeks as well as theoretical and practical excursions to learn about aspects of the climate crisis and sustainable solutions together with others should be integral parts of vocational education.

Education should also be made more attractive and accessible for more people.

Financing

This policy does not require additional funding as the vocational education for farmers could be financed in the same way it is financed today.

Impact

The impact of this measure is hard to quantify. Its aim is to create the necessary foundations in the food sector to help create the possibilities for the necessary changes. It should educate people and enable them to work actively on solutions. In this sense it should also serve to make the other proposed measures realizable and to improve and guarantee their impact.

Massnahme 6.18 : Verbesserung der Rechte und Arbeitsbedingungen von Landwirt*innen

Gute Gehälter und Arbeitsbedingungen müssen sichergestellt werden. Das bäuerliche Bodenrecht muss geschützt werden. Die Schweizer Regierung sollte daher das Problem der hohen Verschuldung angehen. Bäuerinnen brauchen eine Versicherung, damit sie im Falle einer Scheidung eine Garantie für Rente haben. Um ein menschenwürdiges Arbeitsumfeld für Arbeiter*innen im Agrarsektor (auch Gastarbeiter*innen) zu schaffen, müssen die Arbeitsplätze in der Landwirtschaft dem schweizerischen Arbeitsrecht unterstellt werden. Zudem soll jungen Landwirt*innen der Zugang zu landwirtschaftlichen Flächen erleichtert werden.

To achieve the needed transition and reorientation in the agricultural sector, a lot is expected from the farmers. (See Current Situation.)

To make this possible, it is important that farmers can inform themselves, get involved and have an amount of operational scope in their work. This requires sufficient time and good working conditions, which should be ensured with the following three measures:

  1. A core part of a strategy to render Switzerland's agricultural sector socially and environmentally more sustainable must protect the peasant land law (Bäuerliches Bodenrecht/ droit foncier rural/ diritto fondiario rurale). This law prevents the fragmentation of agricultural land, hedges against massive land price increases by prohibiting speculation on agricultural land and regulates the transfer of agricultural land. A relaxation of it could open the doors for climate-damaging, profit driven large-scale agriculture. Small-scaled agricultural production must remain possible in Switzerland as it is also the chance for many people to engage in this sector and not to further lower the number of people working in this sector. It should also protect the people’s right to define their agricultural and food policy and to prioritize local agricultural production in order to feed the people as well as to give access of peasants and landless people to land, water, seeds, and capital which are core principles of food sovereignty.
     
  2. A farm provides a family with work, livelihood, housing and free time and is therefore the central element in the life of a farming family. Therefore, there is often a strong interdependence between business and private life. Marriage and divorce are closely linked to material claims and business obligations. Today, wives of farmers have no guaranteed right to have the work done on the farm credited for payments and pensions and in the event of divorce they are much more likely to waive claims or compensation. To reduce legal dependency on other people, this must be corrected, and insurance and compensation must be guaranteed for both married partners in future. In addition, further projects are to be intensified and promoted to make the sector more attractive and accessible for women, not only as wives.
     
  3. To create a decent working environment for agricultural workers (also migrant workers), jobs in agriculture must be amenable to the Swiss labor law. This includes the conclusion of a collective bargaining agreement that defines maximum weekly working hours for agricultural workers and regulates their salary, accommodation and residence status. The government must establish legal contact points for both domestic and foreign agricultural workers and start proactively informing seasonal workers about their rights as well as monitoring the working conditions of Swiss farms on a regular basis. Since the income for many is already scarce in agriculture and many farms are heavily indebted, it is crucial that this must be accompanied by projects for more subsidized auxiliary workers (Policy 6.19) and good income opportunities to produce food. (Policy 6.9 and 6.28).

Massnahme 6.19 : Mehr Arbeitsplätze im Agrarsektor

Projekte, die mehr Arbeitnehmende in den Agrarsektor bringen, sollen gefördert werden. Der Zugang zu landwirtschaftlichem Land für junge, ausgebildete Menschen sollte erleichtert werden. Green-Job-Programme und Zivildienststellen sollten ebenso gefördert werden wie neue Formen der Beteiligung an Landwirtschaft, um die Arbeitsbelastung zu verteilen.

What is also needed to achieve the necessary transition and reorientation in the agricultural sector as described in the current status, is enough committed people working in agriculture. The sometimes-hard work and the many weekly working hours will be spread over more people as well as being accessible to more people. More people being engaged in the production of food could also have an impact on consumption patterns in society.

To this end, not only vocational education for farmers should be made accessible to more people but also the following three points should be implemented.

  1. Swiss agricultural policy must facilitate the access to agricultural land for young educated farmers, who are often struggling to find that nowadays.
  2. The opportunity to cultivate agricultural land in Switzerland should not be reserved foremost for members of peasant families. Rather, lateral entrants with agricultural education from non-peasant families must be granted simplified legal access to farmland state support.
  3. Possibly created green job programs as well as other projects to support and pay auxiliary workers should be used to help and work on farms or other food-producing facilities. Existing projects like ZIVI/CIVI therefore could be extended and not only include male persons.

Overview on Livestock Production in Switzerland

The extent of livestock husbandry can be understood to be mainly determined by two constraints: (A) Sufficient provision of nutrients for a healthy and balanced diet of a population and (B) Environmental impacts that must not surpass environmental limits of local and global ecosystems. Land use suitability (e.g. for cropland, grassland, forestland) can be seen as an additional framework condition. Three quarters of the agricultural land in Switzerland is grassland that cannot or should not be ploughed. Production of food on this grassland is only possible with ruminants. However, alternative uses of grass (e.g. for fiber, insulation, energy production) and grasslands (e.g. reforestation, promotion of biodiversity) should be considered as well.

For many industrialized countries including Switzerland consumption of animal-based food, particularly meat is above the recommendations of public health institutions (FSVO 2017). At the same time, overly large livestock populations lead to negative impacts beyond the environmental limits, particularly in respect to global climate change (Searchinger et al. 2019; Springmann et al. 2018; Willett et al. 2019). Buckwell and Nadeu (2018) conclude that in order to reach the 2050 climate goals (reduction of GHG-emissions by 80%) the EU28 must reduce its direct livestock emissions by 74%. This can hardly be realized by technical measures (see policy 6.33). In view of that, numerous studies conclude that a significant shift towards a more plant-based diet together with a respective reduction of livestock populations is an important - if not indispensable - step in order to reach necessary GHG emissions reduction goals (Bajzelj et al. 2014; Bryngelsson et al. 2016; Hedenus, Wirsenius, and Johansson 2014; Happer and Wellesley 2019).

Further industrial meat production creates an ideal environment for the spread, development and increased virulence of viruses.

Livestock usually converts only a small part of the nutrients and energy in the feed to human edible food (Shepon et al. 2016; McDonald et al. 2011). As far as possible, use of animal feed should thus be limited to feedstuff not edible for humans (M. Meier, Moakes, and Spörr 2018; Mottet et al. 2017; Schader et al. 2015). This namely includes grass grown on permanent [natural] grassland (i.e. land not suitable for crop production) and by-products from the food industry that cannot be transformed to human edible food. These animal feeds should be used efficiently, getting the right nutrient to the right animal at the right time (Andeweg and Reisinger 2015). 

Framework for Future Livestock Production in Switzerland

As an overarching goal for agricultural production in Switzerland, it is necessary to determine the extent of livestock populations that combine sustainable production and healthy diet. Several studies have been conducted in this direction (H. Kim et al. 2019; Stolze 2019; Zimmermann, Nemecek, and Waldvogel 2017). As a point of reference, we suggest here a diet and agricultural production according to the LMP/Kal scenario in Zimmermann et al. (2017)  (Table 6-2). This would lead to a reduction of total GHG emission from food consumption in Switzerland by 56%. The reduction potential might even be higher if food waste were reduced as far as possible (see also chapter on food waste). GHG emissions from agricultural production within Switzerland decrease to a lesser degree. Based on the model of the Swiss national GHG inventory, Bretscher et al. (2018) calculated a respective reduction potential of approximately 30%.

Under the LMP/Kal scenario in Zimmermann et al. (2017) the total number of livestock units falls by 44%. Particularly meat production from cattle, swine and poultry is reduced. Production and consumption of milk and eggs is maintained or even increased in order to guarantee sufficient provision of animal proteins and micronutrients. This scenario is in accordance with other studies such as e.g. Buckwell and Nadeu (2018) who state that: “a conservative estimate is that about half of the current ruminant livestock in the EU could be justified in their role of making use of the available permanent pastures, including rough grazing”. Considering ecosystem boundaries, Meier and Moakes (2018) propose a similar reduction of the cattle population in Switzerland as Zimmermann et al. (2017) (-37%, feed no food scenario). The population of swine would fall by 59% and the population of poultry by 88%.

6‑2 Livestock populations according to the reference and LMP/Kal scenario of Zimmermann et al. (2017).

Feed rations of the individual livestock categories changes considerably under a scenario for a sustainable and healthy diet such as LMP/Kal. Ruminants are mainly fed based on roughage from permanent grassland and leys in arable crop rotations. Since the total agricultural area is maintained constant, permanent grassland can be used more extensively while still producing sufficient feedstuff. The amount of silage maize that is currently mainly used in cattle husbandry is reduced massively (-90% of the respective cropping area). Furthermore, the results from Zimmermann et al. (2017) suggest that feed imports could be reduced almost to zero due to the much-reduced demand for feed concentrates. Additionally, in Switzerland more cropland will become available for crop production directly for human consumption (e.g. grains, vegetables, root crops, oilseeds).

The degree of food sovereignty in Switzerland would increase considerably with the shift to a more healthy and sustainable diet. Zimmermann et al. (2017) estimate that both gross- and net- (subtracting production based on imported feed) self-sufficiency in terms of food calories could augment to over 80% compared to <60% respectively 50% today. 

Consequences for Food System Policies

Based on the study of Zimmermann et al. (2017) we suggest limiting livestock populations in Switzerland to the numbers of the LMP/Kal scenario as provided in Table 1. The number of livestock units should be fixed for ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats) and monogastric animals (swine, poultry) with some flexibility within these groups. Animal feed should be restricted as far as possible to feedstuff not edible for humans and stocking densities should be adapted to local feed availability. To achieve this, we suggest the following policy measures.

Massnahme 6.20 : Import von tierischen Produkten und Produktivität

Der Import von tierischen Produkten wird nur zugelassen, wenn sie unter den gleichen Richtlinien wie in der Schweiz produziert wurden (“Feed no Food”, Einhaltung der maximalen lokalen Viehdichte). "Feed no food"-Konzepte und die maximale lokale Viehdichte sollen auch auf internationaler Ebene gefördert werden. Entsprechende internationale Handelsregeln müssen unterstützt werden.

To ensure that the following measures concerning livestock production in Switzerland lead to a reduction of GHG emissions in total and are not compensated by more emissions, land use and bad agricultural practices in other countries through more imports, it is essential to have a productive domestic agriculture sector. The Swiss population needs to be supplied to the highest possible degree from domestically produced food. The degree of self-sufficiency should at least stay the same if not increase with all the suggested policies. This should be a key target in any agriculture politics and has a further advantage of leading to less transport emissions. We want to ensure this through the “feed no food” principle, which allows more calories and nutrition being produced per hectare and with further support of different practices and alternatives described in policy 6.9, 6.26 and 6.27.

To reach that target, implementing the following two import regulations are important:

  • Import of animal sourced food products is only allowed when it is produced under the same framework conditions as in Switzerland (“feed no food” principle and observance of maximum local stocking densities). The concepts of the “feed no food” principle and the maximum stocking densities should be promoted by Switzerland on an international level. It will be consistently represented in trade relations and international cooperation and research projects. The development of respective international trade regulations should be pursued (see policy 6.1).
     
  • Furthermore, the following policies, foremost the once to reduce the proportion of animal sourced food production, need to come together with a shift in diets in Switzerland and should not lead to more ASF being imported (even if it is produced under the same sustainability framework as in Switzerland, it will increase the demand for meat and lead others to the consumption of more harmful produced ASF or take away the land and possibility for others to eat ASF). The above policies concerning Swiss food consumption should help to make that shift possible. But to guarantee it, there is the need for a cap for imported ASF at the level it is today, decreasing until 2030 to a maximum of 10% of the amount of what is produced in Switzerland.

It can be a support for achieving both measures, to adapt a border tax adjustment in the direction of action of policy 6.11 and 6.12.

These two measures and the aspect of a productive agriculture allow the change in Swiss agriculture to have a real impact on the fight against climate crisis. By changing both, the way we produce food, and the way and amount we consume, we will enable both parts to have great impacts and to be an evident part towards a sustainable food system having a global relevance: First as a good example to show that it is possible and second to already bring up solutions for the global food system that can be used further or adapted by others.

Massnahme 6.21: Keine Subventionen für die Futtermittelproduktion auf Ackerland

Keine Subventionen oder andere Unterstützung für die Futtermittelproduktion auf Ackerland, mit Ausnahme von Heu in der landwirtschaftlichen Felderwirtschaft

All subsidies or any other support for feed production on arable land except for leys in arable crop rotations should be reduced continuously and stopped by 2030. Arable lands could be defined as the crop rotation areas as designated in ARE (2006). Alternatively, the elaboration of a respective policy system could consider the area- and food-competition as proposed by Zumwald et al. (2019). The subsidies should instead be shifted towards sustainable practices and techniques as suggested in the policies 6.27 and 6.28: Alternative proteins/incomes.

The impact and further details can be found in the overview and framework for future livestock production in Switzerland. Important questions such as financing or social or cultural compatibility are answered by the accompanying measures, both previous and following. 

Massnahme 6.22 : Keine Importe von Tierfutter

Abgaben auf importierte Futtermittel bis 2030 schrittweise erhöhen und importierte Futtermittel ab 2030 ganz verbieten.

An increasing tax on imported feedstuff should lead to its reduction to zero by 2030, year where it should be banned. Incomes generated by the taxes should be used to create other income possibilities for farmers (Policy 6.28).

The impact and further details can be found in the overview and framework for future livestock production in Switzerland. Important questions such as financing or social or cultural compatibility are answered by the accompanying measures, both previous and following.

Massnahme 6.23 : Begrenzung der Viehdichte für Wiederkäuer

Begrenzung der Viehdichte für Wiederkäuer auf Dauerweiden auf durchschnittlich eine Grossvieheinheit pro Hektar. Die maximale Viehdichte kann regional angepasst werden, um Unterschiede im lokalen Produktionspotenzial zu berücksichtigen.  

The stocking densities for ruminants on permanent grassland should be limited to one livestock unit per hectare on average. The maximum stocking density may be adjusted regionally to take into account the differences in local production potentials.

The impact and further details can be found in the overview and framework for future livestock production in Switzerland. Important questions such as financing or social or cultural compatibility are answered by the accompanying measures, both previous and following.

Massnahme 6.24: Population von Nicht-Wiederkäuern limitieren

Die Anzahl der Nicht-Wiederkäuer soll limitiert werden. Die genaue Zahl ergibt sich aus der aktuellsten Forschung oder orientiert sich an der Anzahl Tiere, die mit Futtermitteln aus Nebenprodukten der regionalen Lebensmittelindustrie (für den Menschen nicht essbar) ernährt werden können. Die tiefere dieser beiden Zahlen gilt.

The populations of non-ruminant animals should also be limited to values provided in Table 6-2 or to numbers that can be supported with feedstuff from by-products of the regional food industry that are not edible by humans, if this is lower.

The impact and further details can be found in the overview and framework for future livestock production in Switzerland. Important questions such as financing or social or cultural compatibility are answered by the accompanying measures, both previous and following.

Massnahme 6.25 : Maximale Viehdichte für neue Infrastruktur beachten

Die (regionale) maximale Viehdichte soll bei Baugenehmigungen von neuer oder der Renovierung alter Infrastruktur (z.B. Ställe) berücksichtigt werden. Dies gilt auch für die Kreditvergabe oder die Unterstützung anderer langfristiger Investitionen. 

For the approval of new construction or renovation of old infrastructure (e.g. stables) and for the guarantee of credits or any other long-term support investments the regional maximum stocking densities need to be considered.

The impact and further details can be found in the overview and framework for future livestock production in Switzerland. Important questions such as financing or social or cultural compatibility are answered by the accompanying measures, both previous and following.

Massnahme 6.26 : Förderung von Forschung und Entwicklung

Forschung und Entwicklung fördern, um die graslandbasierte Tierproduktion zu optimieren und Nebenprodukte der Lebensmittelindustrie in Tierfutter umzuwandeln. Präzisionsfütterung soll gefördert werden.

In order to optimize grassland-based animal production and convert food industry by-products to animal feed, research and development should be promoted - for instance in precision feeding as proposed by Andeweg and Reisinger (2015).

Further GHG reduction potentials may be achieved with technical measures. This includes in particular an increased longevity for cattle animals (Grandl et al. 2018, Meier et al. 2017), nitrogen optimized feeding strategies (Bracher et al. 2011, Kupper et al. 2018), and low emission stable- and manure management systems (see policy 6.33.) (Daniel Bretscher et al. 2018). So far, there is no scientific consensus whether pasture or stall-feeding systems are more beneficial in terms of GHG-emissions (Zollitsch, Hörtenhuber, and Lindenthal 2010; Zumwald et al. 2019). For animal-welfare reasons we suggest letting animals graze if possible. In general, it is expected that the technical measures for the reduction of GHG emissions in practice are of limited potential and difficult to implement. Nonetheless, they should be promoted as far as possible. This could include e.g. bans for unsustainable practices, regulations and/or capacity building programs. Financial incentives should be used with reluctance and only granted to cover additional costs as they shall not reinforce structures of livestock activities beyond the ecological system boundaries.

Massnahme 6.27 : Alternativen zu tierischen Proteinen fördern

Alternativen zu tierischen Proteinen, d.h. pflanzliche Proteinquellen, wie z.B. Hülsenfrüchte, sollten gezielt gefördert und unterstützt werden. Ebenso soll die Forschung zur Züchtung und dem Anbau in der Schweiz in angemessenem Umfang gefördert werden.

Alternatives to animal proteins i.e. plant-based protein sources like leguminous crops should be specifically promoted and supported as well as the research on breeding and cultivation of those alternatives in appropriate scale in Switzerland.

The impact and further details can be found in the overview and framework for future livestock production in Switzerland. Important questions such as financing or social or cultural compatibility are answered by the accompanying measures, both previous and following.

Massnahme 6.28 : Alternative Einkommensquellen fördern

Landwirt*innen, die heute von der Viehzucht abhängig sind, sollen Unterstützung erhalten, wenn sie alternative Einkommensquellen erschliessen wollen (z.B. Unterstützung beim Übergang zum Ackerbau oder zur Energieproduktion).

Farmers depending on livestock production today should be supported by promoting alternative income possibilities as support for transition to crop productions, additional energy production or concerning policy 6.9 possibilities for direct selling of their products in the farm or in association with the processing sector. Accordingly, framework conditions need to be designed in a way that allows for alternative economic activities. Difficulties and challenges in arable crop production such as seasonally uneven distribution of workload and income and risks for crop failure due to extreme events must be addressed in order to strengthen the attractiveness and feasibility of this activity.

Minimize GHG intensive practices

Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agricultural soils are the second largest GHG emission source in the agricultural sector (1.58 Mt CO2 eq.; see Current Situation). They are mostly a result of nitrogen transformation processes in animal manure and agricultural soils. The production and use of nitrogen containing fertilizers (mineral fertilizer and animal manure) are the cause of most N2O emissions.  Among the additional nitrogen sources are decaying crop residues, nitrogen mineralization in soils and inputs from atmospheric deposition of nitrogen species leading to N2O emissions. Particularly high nitrogen supplies beyond requirements of crops lead to hot spots of N2O emissions.

However, any overabundance of nitrogen, also when coming from high additions of compost, will lead to N2O emissions. In addition to on-farm greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizers, emissions of around 0.81 Mt CO2 eq. are incurred during the production of agricultural inputs abroad, mineral fertilizers and animal feed. The use of organic soils for arable farming or grazing is another major source of GHG emissions (mainly CO2) in Swiss agriculture. Additionally, CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels in agricultural machinery and buildings amount to 0.63 Mt CO2 eq. and therefore contribute 10% of the GHG emissions from agricultural production in Switzerland. To reduce all these emissions from agricultural production, several measures are proposed below.

Massnahme 6.29 : Förderung der Low-Input-Landwirtschaft

Im Rahmen der Direktzahlungen sollen für landwirtschaftliche Praktiken mit geringem Input entsprechende Beiträge gesprochen werden. Kriterien sind, dass die geförderten Praktiken die agroökologischen Prinzipien einbeziehen und die THG-Emissionen im Vergleich zu den derzeit etablierten Systemen senken. 

Description

For the Swiss agricultural production system and for the Swiss farmers, to sustain the shift towards a less input-intensive production system the production portfolio must be adapted in a way that allows sustainable low-input agriculture. To this end and in accordance with article 104 of the Swiss constitution, the use of cultures and varieties as well as animal species and breeds that are adapted to climatic, soil and topographical conditions should be supported. Accordingly, the need for external inputs should be lower, as less fertilizers and agrochemicals are necessary in order to maintain agricultural production against fundamental ecological constraints. This policy suggests production system contributions within the direct payment framework for previously specified low-input agricultural practices incorporating agroecological principles and lowering the GHG emissions in comparison to currently established systems.

Financing

The described direct policy could be financed by the redistribution of the direct payment budget, reducing the payments for animal husbandry and redirecting these payments towards locally adapted low-input agricultural practices.

Impact 

This policy is mainly necessary to sustain the policies aiming at reducing GHG emitting inputs in the agricultural system. The direct emission reduction effect is hard to calculate.

Social Compatibility

Due to its character as a supporting measure for the policies mentioned below, this measure should increase the acceptance of the policies aiming at reducing harmful inputs in agricultural systems.

Massnahme 6.30 : Steuer auf Stickstoffeinsatz, der die Nachfrage der Pflanze übersteigt & Obergrenze für die Anwendung synthetischer Düngemittel

Der Stickstoffeinsatz sollte sehr genau überwacht werden. Einsätze, die über die Pflanzenversorgung hinausgehen, müssen besteuert werden. Dazu sollte den Landwirt*innen ein Instrument zur Verfügung gestellt werden, dass den benötigten Düngereinsatz berechnet. Dieses soll z.B. den Nährstoffbedarf der Pflanzen, die Verfügbarkeit von Stickstoff im Boden, die Art des verwendeten Düngers und die Anwendungsart berücksichtigen. Als ergänzende Massnahme kann eine Lenkungsabgabe auf synthetische Dünger erhoben werden. 

Weiter schlagen wird eine Obergrenze für die Ausbringung von synthetischem Dünger vor. Diese Obergrenze wird schrittweise gesenkt. Die Bäuer*innen sollen die Möglichkeit erhalten, sich an die neue Situation anzupassen.

Description

An overabundance of freely available nitrogen in the soil can lead to high N2O emissions. The temporal and spatial nitrogen supply should match the plant’s demand as close as possible. In Switzerland Bosshard et al. (2012) report that there is a substantial potential for improving nitrogen use efficiency in Switzerland. Since amounts of nitrogen emissions not only depend on the source but mainly on the amount of nitrogen applied (Necpalova et al. 2018), nitrogen addition should be monitored very closely and inputs that are beyond the plant supply should be taxed. For this, a user-friendly tool should be made available to farmers that accounts for e.g. the nutrient demand of plants, the availability of nitrogen in the soil, the type of fertilizer used and the application technique. As a complementary measure an incentive tax on synthetic fertilizers can be raised. The revenues of this incentive tax can then be redistributed to the farmers directly or via investments in research and development of more efficient nutrient managing techniques.

To complement the tax-based measures aiming at a reduction of N2O emissions a stronger incentive for farmers to use their crop rotation and organic fertilizers as nutrient sources can be applied. To this end we suggest a cap for synthetic fertilizer application (SFA) based on local conditions as part of a compulsory fertilization balance for all farmers. This cap will be lowered in a stepwise manner guaranteeing both the aimed reduction and the possibility for farmers to adapt to the new situation. This policy is independent of the direct payment regulation and can also be applied if incentives based on taxes do not lead to any change in the N2O emissions.

Impact

An increase in nitrogen use efficiency of manure management could lead to a reduction of 0.261 Mt CO2 eq. per year (Daniel Bretscher et al. 2018). Therefore, an improvement of mineral fertilizer management could result in 16.5% lower soil N2O emissions. The complete waiving of the use of synthetic fertilizers could reduce the emission of GHGs directly emitted by soils by 15%. Additionally, a substantial part of the 0.81 Mt CO2 eq emitted by the production of agricultural inputs abroad could be reduced by the renunciation of synthetic fertilizer. Accounting half of the emissions from the production of agricultural inputs abroad to synthetic fertilizer, a waiving of mineral fertilizers would lead to a reduction of GHG emissions from agriculture by approximately 0.64 MT CO2 eq per year. This accounts for a reduction of 10% of the agricultural GHG emissions. Since policies are aiming at the reduction and not at the complete renunciation of organic fertilizers the suggested policies would result in GHG emission reduction in accordance with the proportion of mineral fertilizer reduced.

Financing

The costs of this measure will be covered by the farmers themselves. However, better education on climate-friendly agricultural practices, particularly higher nitrogen use efficiency and an increased use of nitrogen fixing crops, and the general reduction of nitrogen inefficient livestock husbandry will lead to a higher nutrient use efficiency. Therefore, overall production of food calories and -proteins will not decline and no additional costs should arise.

Social Compatibility

Enhancing nutrient (mainly nitrogen) use efficiency should not lead to lower yields and therefore a reduction in fertilizer use should not come at a cost or might even be financially beneficial for farmers. Studies have shown that intensive crop management does not necessarily increase GHG emissions per unit of crop production (Snyder et al. 2009). 

A complete renunciation from synthetic fertilizers will possibly lead to lower outputs (Necpalova et al. 2018). To maintain our current production level of energies, proteins and nutrients a simultaneous withdrawal from the production of animal feed on agricultural areas is necessary. However, the initial increase of production costs might cause temporary problems with a lack of income for the farmers. This should be overcome by a fairer pricing system accounting for more sustainable production systems. Further thorough consulting and a step by step implementation are necessary accompanying measures to guarantee a smooth transition.

Massnahme 6.31 : Wiedervernässung von organischen Böden

Trotz einer langen Geschichte der Entwässerung sind immer noch grosse Mengen von Kohlenstoff in organischen Böden gespeichert. Diese Vorräte (die etwa zwei Jahren der gesamten schweizerischen THG-Emissionen entsprechen) sollten durch Wiedervernässung erhalten werden. Es können somit sogar zusätzlich THG-Emissionen gespeichert werden. 

The use of organic soils for arable farming or grazing is another major source of GHG emissions. These soils are formed by the anaerobic, incomplete decomposition of plant matter in water-saturated soil in peatlands (fens or bogs). Typically, farming requires the drainage of these soils. Upon drainage however, the peat becomes exposed to oxygen and a high amount of carbon which has accumulated over thousands of years is released to the atmosphere in the form of CO2. Despite their long history of drainage, large amounts of carbon are still stored in organic soils. These stocks (equivalent to about two years of total Swiss GHG emissions) should be preserved by rewetting, thereby reducing GHG emissions. Over longer time scales rewetting can also, under favorable conditions, renew the C-sink function of these soils.

Financing

Currently farmers receive direct payments for very general services (e.g. Versorgungssicherheitsbeiträge/ Contributions à la sécurité de l’approvisionnement/ Contributi per la sicurezza dell’approvvigionamento). Part of these subsidies are also invested in the cultivation of organic soils. Furthermore, the government invests large amounts of money in the renewal and maintenance of drainage systems (about CHF 1000 per hectare) and will have to invest 1.7 billion in the next 10-15 years (SRF 2017). These funds should be used for rewetting and renaturation projects. The costs to rewet these soils are very high on a per area basis and are additionally associated with a decrease in agricultural production. Additional funds should therefore be used to incentivize alternative income sources for affected farmers. CO2 certificates are another option. A program that is already running for raised bogs is max.moor. Current prices are too low and would need to be roughly doubled (Ferré et al. 2019).

Impact

The mitigation potential of organic soils under agricultural use (intact or degraded peaty soils) is large, as they emit about 0.6 Mio. t CO2-eq. per year (about 10% of the agricultural emissions, see “Current situation”). 

Social Compatibility

Rewetted organic soils could be used for paludicultures (wetland plants). Examples are Phragmites australis (for paper and pulp production or as fuel), Typha sp. (cattail, as insulation or construction material or as fuel), Sphagnum sp. (alternative for peat in horticulture), Alnus glutinosa (as construction or furniture wood, fuel). Experiments with rice have been performed in the Seeland and have shown that rice would offer an economically as well as ecologically (especially for biodiversity) very interesting option (SRF 2019b; 2019a). Whether significant amounts of methane are emitted has yet to be assessed.

Organic soils are very important for vegetable farming. An alternative might be to farm vegetables on Hors-Sol in vertical farms.

Massnahme 6.32 : Standard-Mineralölsteuer in der Landwirtschaft

Für die landwirtschaftliche Produktion soll eine einheitliche Mineralölsteuer erhoben werden. Mit dieser Massnahme können zusätzliche Massnahmen, die auf die Erstellung von Kostenwahrheit und Veränderungen im Mobilitätssektor abzielen, dann automatisch auch auf die Mobilität im Agrarsektor angewandt werden.

Description

CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels in agricultural machinery and buildings amount to 0.63 Mt CO2 eq. and therefore contribute 10% of the GHG emissions from agricultural production in Switzerland. To increase the efficiency of the use of agricultural machinery standard mineral oil tax should be applied for agricultural production. With this measure, additional policies aiming at an establishment of Truth of Costs and changes in the mobility sector can automatically be applied to mobility in the agricultural sector as well.

Financing

The costs of this measure will be covered by the farmers themselves. However, a redistribution of subsidies can support the shift towards emission-free energy alternatives here as well. Furthermore, the improved use of fossil fuels and heavy machinery in many cases lowers or even neutralizes the economic impact of this measure for farmers.

Impact

The improved use of fossil fuels and heavy machinery in agriculture is estimated to reduce the amount of CO2 eq. of the combustion of fossil fuels in agriculture by ⅓.

Massnahme 6.33 : Förderung einzelner technischer Entschärfungsmassnahmen.

Die Landwirt*innen sollen freien Zugang zu jeder Art von Informationen (wie wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse, meteorologische Daten, Bodeninformationen usw.) haben und bei der aktiven Verbesserung ihres Produktionssystems (Böden, Pflanzen, Tiere, Infrastruktur) unterstützt werden. Ebenso sollten Landwirt*innen an Programmen zur Kapazitätssteigerung teilnehmen und Beratungsdienste in Anspruch nehmen können. Ihr Einkommen, muss hoch genug sein, damit sie sich zeitlich und finanziell leisten können, ihre Produktion zu optimieren. Einzelne technische Massnahmen können direkt subventioniert werden. 

Overview

Many organizations and institutions already elaborated compilations of technical measures to reduce GHG emissions. Instead of discussing the individual measures here again, we rather focus on this contribution on the general aspects and findings.

The highly complex biochemical emission processes with a great number of different microorganisms involve generally difficult technical reduction potentials on agricultural farms. Additionally, the great number of individual emission sources are often interconnected among each other’s exacerbating effective mitigation measures. Numerous negative side effects, trade-offs with other pollutants and/or animal welfare as well as high implementation costs are additional challenges of technical reduction measures. After decades of intensive research on agricultural GHG emissions no technical solution or set of reduction measures with a potential that would be sufficient to meet the necessary reduction for the 2°C target (even less so for the 1.5°C target) is in sight (Bajzelj et al. 2014; Bryngelsson et al. 2016; Garnett 2011; Hedenus, Wirsenius, and Johansson 2014). This is particularly true for the most important emission sources: methane emissions from enteric fermentation and nitrous oxide emissions from soils.

Supposedly effective reduction measures based on chemical enzyme blockers such as nitrification inhibitors (3,4-Dimethylpyrazolphosphat (DMPP), Dicyandiamid (DCD), Nitrapyrin, Etridiazol) or methane inhibitors for enteric fermentation (3-nitrooxypropanol (3NOP)) run the risk of yet unknown negative side effects and should be dealt with restraint under strict observance of the Precautionary Principle (UNESCO 2020). Furthermore, consumers can be very sensitive to chemical substances used in agriculture. Bad experiences with nitrification inhibitors in New Zealand advice to pursue these seemingly promising mitigation measures with caution.

Major potentials might be situated in the field of soil carbon sequestration. In particular, soil application of biochar or deep ploughing of arable land may lead to the build-up of higher stocks of soil organic carbon. However, several drawbacks such as large uncertainties, reversibility and saturation effects should be clarified.

One way forward might be a target-oriented program that promotes the simultaneous implementation of many technical measures. Examples are a system of maximum allowable nitrogen surpluses or a points-based system that prescribes a minimal score for different farm types. Such arrangements allow flexibility for individual farms to exploit site-specific potentials. The effect of the latter, however, remains limited if the major emission sources from enteric fermentation and manure management are not addressed.

In conclusion, technical measures on the production side are characterized by low reduction potentials and/or by trade-offs with other environmental impacts, as well as by technical problems with implementation and/or prohibitive costs. First experiences with pilot projects in Switzerland and abroad confirm this finding. Given this, a mitigation strategy based solely on technical, production-side measures does not seem a viable way to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement (1.5°C or 2°C target). This finding is also supported by the fact that agricultural GHG emissions in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) -countries did hardly decline in the past decade, despite significant investments in research and development (OECD 2013). Furthermore, the lacking progress in reducing the ammonia- and nitrogen surplus problem should make us cautious regarding promised technical potentials. Accordingly, false trust in technical solutions should under no circumstances delay urgent action that address agricultural structures through a change in human diet and reduced food waste.

Policies

All policies, namely financial incentives, should be designed in a way that they do not consolidate agricultural structures and production processes that cause negative environmental and social impacts. Any lock-in situation due to high investments that exacerbate further mitigation action must be avoided. Technical mitigation measures should also not hamper locally adapted production and should be designed in a way that does not contradict the fundamental properties of a climate friendly production system (Figure 6-3). A thorough analysis of all technical policy measures in this respect is essential.

Climate-Friendly Production System (original graphic in German: (D. Bretscher and Felder 2019))

Economic Incentives that Allow the Implementation of Technical Measures

Ideally the producer price for the farmers should be high enough in order to allow the implementation of technical measures and produce accordingly to the best available and sustainable management practices. Internalizing all environmental and social costs can therefore be a prerequisite to this policy. The income of the farmers should allow them to dedicate sufficient time in the observation, analysis and optimization of their production system (soils, plants, animals, infrastructure). Likewise, farmers should be able to participate in capacity building programs and benefit from consultation services. As a last option individual technical measure can directly be subsidized.

Research and Development

Research and development of promising mitigation measures such as feed additives to reduce methane emissions from enteric fermentation or measures to promote soil organic carbon sequestration should be promoted by dedication of sufficient financial resources. Applied research and investigation of implementation mechanisms on the farms should be strengthened. Among this, research studies that analyze the sociocultural background of the farmers and how their engagement can be raised.

Overarching Programs and Access to Information

Overarching programs such as low emission breeding programs for livestock or geographical information systems to promote locally adapted agriculture should be financed and supported. Farmers should have free access to any other kind of information (scientific results, meteorological data, soil information etc.) that contributes to an optimized management.