Feeds

Western consumption helping to kill off species

Sydney Uni maps global extinction link to trade

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Grab a coffee, add two sugars, and check the news on your tablet: you’ve just helped kill off a species in a country you might never have heard of.

A school of physics may not be where you expect someone to analyze endangered species, but that’s the source of research from Sydney University, showing the link between the gadget, food and resources supply chains and global extinctions.

In an extraordinary feat of data collection spanning years, the researchers from the University’s Integrated Sustainability Analysis group in its School of Physics gathered data on five billion supply chains, and 15,000 commodities in 187 countries, and compared all this to a register of 25,000 endangered species.

The Web of the global supply chain is a species-killer. Source: University of Sydney

As much as a third of global species threats are due to global trade, the research finds. This is a huge shift, the researchers say, compared to a pre-globalised world, where many species threats were localized (due, for example, to local demands for food, fuel and living space).

In essence, the research finds that advanced economies – the places that try and police their own backyards, once our middle classes start noticing that such things matter – have mostly exported environmental destruction to countries that supply them with agricultural products, resource commodities, or manufactured goods.

Australia is a notable and not-honourable exception to this: our enthusiasm for mining makes us a net exporter of goods that endanger species through pollution and habitat loss (not that this is likely to give pause to people like Titanic-replica-builder and CIA conspiracy theorist Clive Palmer).

It’s across the board, the researchers say: developed countries’ demand for sugar, coffee, tea, timber, textiles, and raw materials for manufactured goods (read: blood minerals for electronics) all export environmental destruction to the supplier and cause “a biodiversity footprint that is larger than at home”.

Professor Manfred Lenzen, lead author of the research (abstract here) says he hopes the research will drive better product labeling and regulation, with co-author Barney Foran saying that sustainability shouldn’t be “a premium product”. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9000 beer tokens - and counting
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.