23 May 2018 - Biovision Spring Event 2018


There is no Plan(et) B

If everyone on the planet wanted to live as we do in Switzerland, we would need three Earths. When it comes to consumption, production and climate change, Switzerland performs badly in the sustainability league. So what should we be doing? This was what the 350 visitors to our Spring Event discovered yesterday in Basel.

Sibyl Anwander, Manager of the Economics and Innovation Division at FOEN, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment summed it up succinctly: “Our excess consumption is not just a minor thing; it is absolutely huge. Some 75% of the impact of our consumption habits on the environment is caused outside Switzerland”. When it comes to sustainability, we tend to think that we are quite good but this subjective perception is wrong: The high living standards that we enjoy are to the detriment of others. Brazil (e.g. soya imports for animal feed) and India (cotton) are particularly badly affected. In order to halt this development we need to make huge changes to our patterns of consumption.

Changes to the entire food system

Adrian Müller from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, also argued for consumers to change their habits. If we are to produce enough food for the global population in a sustainable way, we must significantly reduce the percentage of animal products in our diet. In his presentation, Müller conveyed the core messages from the study published by FiBL at the end of 2017 in the prestigious magazine “Nature Communications”. (Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4daLqmureU)

“Why should others start if I don’t?”

Anna Stünzi, member of the Leadership Council of SDSN Switzerland stressed that “we can all make choices in our daily lives; whether it is the products we buy, the packaging we use or if and how we vote”. As a member of SDSN Switzerland, a network run jointly by Biovision and the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern, Stünzli is actively encouraging the development of new and innovative solutions that will allow Switzerland to accelerate the switch to a genuinely sustainable system.

What is more sustainable: a Schoggi bar or a bar of chocolate?

At the end of the event, the audience took part in a Quiz to test their knowledge. They were given two products and had to decide which was the more sustainable. Participants at yesterday’s event chose the chocolate bar and they were right: Unlike the chocolate bar, many Schoggi bars contain palm oil, which causes more environmental damage. Sabine Lerch, Project Manager for Sustainable Consumption at Biovision gave the audience five simple tips to take home with them so that they could shop more sustainably in future:

  1. Less is more! Buy what you actually need
  2. Eat vegetarian food on a regular basis
  3. Buy seasonal and regional products
  4. Select products with sustainable labels
  5. Avoid products containing palm oil