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PhD Defence

Going global to local: achieving agri-food sustainability from a spatially explicit input-output analysis perspective

  • Z. Sun
Tuesday 1 June 2021
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


The global agri-food system plays a critical role in food security and environmental issues. Increasing globalization has resulted in a complex international food system where production and consumption along the international supply chain can incorporate many geographically distinct regions. This interconnection means that it is difficult for any single producer or consumer to address these impacts. This thesis represents a step towards mapping the global food system from producers to consumers and offers several policy-relevant insights, especially in the national accounting of environmental footprints. Given that many drivers occur locally, but are traded globally, and that inter-regional differences in consumption are increasingly important, it is a natural next step to find approaches that can connect local impacts (production side) with global consumption (consumption side) through trade.
Global spatially explicit multi-regional input-output (SMRIO) analyses can help identify hotspots of local production and associated social and environmental impacts driven by global consumption. In this thesis, I assess the use of SMRIO in the past and build a SMRIO model in three different case studies to assess its use. I use SMRIO models to investigate three critical issues (i.e. food security, biodiversity loss, and climate change) in the agri-food system.
These sorts of assessments can help provide insights into how we might avoid catastrophic environmental problems in a globalized world. However, any of the benefits highlighted in these studies will require significant international action and collaboration. They will have to be sensitive to local conditions and the economic ramifications of rapid food transitions.


  • Prof. A. Tukker

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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