Social aspects play a leading role in the sustainability concept. Therefore, the principal elements of social sustainability will be subjected to an analysis within the scope of a study of the social conditions prevailing in Swiss agriculture. The theoretical approach is based on the concept of quality of life. In Spring 2000, a postal survey was carried out in Canton Bern in the course of which 1’500 farmers (male and female) were invited to complete a standardised questionnaire. Initial results confirm the importance of the sectors health, work, family and education in everyday life, followed by income, values/attitudes and basic conditions. Factors can be defined in each sector which have a positive or negative influence on the quality of life. The quality of life index is derived by combining the importance of the individual areas of life with the respondent’s evaluation of satisfaction in these sectors. Detailed results concerning the quality of life in Swiss agriculture together with the respective conclusions which form the basis for future social reporting are expected at the end of the year 2000.
Policies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are more effective and more efficient if they are set at the regional level and not at the level of individual farms. This can help achieve climate targets.
Global food availability is expected to remain stable in the medium term. Food security challenges in Switzerland include the decline in agricultural land area per capita, higher incidence of extreme weather events and increased pressure from pests.
Different cultural backgrounds lead to different uptake of biodiversity agri-environmental schemes at the inner-Swiss French-German language border. Economic policy incentives could mitigate culture-driven behavioral differences.