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The Linking Environment to Trade (LET) Guide 2020


The LET Guide summarises results of an assessment of current thinking and best practice designed to help practitioners and policy makers reduce the embodied environmental impact associated with global trade and consumption, with a focus on UK policy objectives.

It provides a quick overview for understanding tools and techniques developed to address the challenge of reducing negative environmental impacts in the production areas and along the supply chains of the soft commodities we consume.

This guide was based on knowledge acquired from a review of over 250 initiatives which try to link consumption to environmental impact (see 'Trade and Environment Initiatives' spreadsheet), and which builds on a list of initiatives provided by the GCRF Trade, Development & the Environment Hub. Links from the guide to the spreadsheet can be used to find additional detail on specific tools or techniques which are currently available. The spreadsheet reviewed the types of environmental impacts initiatives address, assessed current level of implementation, and identified limitations and knowledge gaps.

A further two literature reviews (see 'Models and Extensions' spreadsheet) were completed with a view to informing biodiversity indicator development specifically, these looked at:

  • Pressure-Biodiversity models – to gain understanding of the range of pressure-biodiversity models available and draw conclusions on the most appropriate direction to take if indicator development were to prioritise the use of biodiversity as a metric.
  • Environmental extensions of Multi Regional Input Output (MRIO) models – to evaluate how economic data is translated to pressures within MRIO environmental extensions.

The 'Work Package Summary and Further Information' document gives the background and provides details of the methods used to conduct this research and in providing the fundamental knowledge used to develop The LET Guide.

These resources may not be fully accessible for all users. If you need copies in a different or more accessible format, please contact

Resource type Publication

Topic category Economy

Reference date 2020·11·01

Hawker, J., Smith, M., Way, L., Harris, M., Donovan, D., Wright, E. and Wilkinson, S. 2020. The LET (Linking Environment to Trade) Guide. JNCC, Peterborough, ISBN 978-1-86107-634-2.

This resource was produced for Defra as part of a work package assessing the feasibility of producing a biodiversity indicator linked to UK consumption and trade. This work follows on from previous research into proposed indicators for the 25 Year Environment Plan in 2019 (not yet published). The initial review of 250+ initiatives was complied from a list of initiatives provided by the GCRF Trade, Development & the Environment Hub ( and expanded on using in-house expertise. This review provided fundamental knowledge which underpins the messages delivered in the guide.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC author

Limitations on public access No Limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2022·05·04

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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