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Food on Our Plates Had Largest Impact: First Ever Combined Carbon and Biodiversity Footprints in the City of Tampere in Finland

Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are intertwined with climate change creating a huge global challenge. Meeting this challenge will require changes in consumption patterns and behaviour across all sectors of society.

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The biodiversity footprint of City of Tampere by consumption categories. Photo: City Of Tampere.

Better choices reduce the harm

The key to improve footprint is to manage and decrease impacts, which can be achieved by understanding where our biodiversity footprint comes from.

– Tampere wants to lead the way in protecting both the climate and biodiversity. We need to identify the most significant impacts on biodiversity through our supply chains and actively seek ways to reduce them. In 2021, the city purchased more than €1 billion worth of goods and services. The city therefore has many opportunities to reduce harmful impacts through better choices, says Kari Kankaala, the city's Director of Environment and Development.

The largest share of the 2021 biodiversity footprint of the City of Tampere was caused by food procurement (22%), the second largest by heat consumption (13%) and the third largest by construction (12%). The largest share of the carbon footprint of the City of Tampere (22%) was caused by heat consumption. Food accounted for 14% of the carbon footprint and construction for 13%.

Although food had the largest biodiversity footprint, food procurement in Euros accounted only for about 3% of total procurement.

Open calculation method

The footprints have been calculated using a methodology developed by the University of Jyväskylä's Resource Wisdom community, JYU.Wisdom. The methodology uses scientific databases, the organisation's financial accounting and other consumption data to calculate the biodiversity footprint.

– The methodology for calculating the footprint will be published for use of all other pioneering organisations, says Janne Kotiaho, Director of JYU.Wisdom and Professor of Ecology.

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