Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

International demand for food and services drives environmental footprints of pesticide use

Tang, Fiona H. M.; Malik, Arunima; Li, Mengyu; Lenzen, Manfred; Maggi, Federico


Pesticides are well-recognised pollutants that threaten biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Here we quantify the environmental footprints of pesticide use for 82 countries and territories and eight broad regions using top-down multi-region input-output analysis. Pesticide footprints are expressed as hazard loads that quantify the body weight (bw) of non-target organisms required to absorb pesticide residues without experiencing adverse effects. We show that the world's consumption in 2015 resulted in 2 Gt-bw of pesticide footprints. Of these, 32% are traded internationally. The global average per-capita pesticide footprint is 0.27 t-bw capita(-1) y(-1), with high-income countries having the largest per-capita footprint. China, Germany, and United Kingdom are the top three net importers of pesticide hazard loads embodied in commodities, while the USA, Brazil, and Spain are the three largest net exporters. Our study highlights the need for policies to target pesticide use reduction while ensuring adverse impacts are not transferred to other nations.China, Germany and UK were the largest net importers of pesticide hazard loads embodied in commodities in 2015, while the USA, Brazil and Spain were the largest net exporters, according to a top-down multi-region input-output analysis of footprints for 82 countries and territories.

Published in

Communications earth & environment
2022, Volume: 3, number: 1, article number: 272

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land
    SDG13 Climate action

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication Identifiers


    Permanent link to this page (URI)