RISE – getting sustainability down to earth

An agricultural operation is sustainable if it is sufficiently profitable, environmentally friendly and offers good living conditions to those who work and live on the farm. With the RISE (Response-Inducing Sustainability Evaluation) method developed at HAFL, the sustainability of agricultural production can be measured and communicated in the context of agricultural extension, education and supply chain management. The RISE software has been tested around the world, is available in seven languages and can be used both on- and off-line.

Assessing sustainability

RISE is a computer-supported method developed at HAFL, which facilitates a holistic assessment of agricultural operations. The evaluation is based on ten indicators that reflect environmental, economic and social aspects. The most important data source is a questionnaire-based interview with the farmer. The evaluated data are visualized as a sustainability polygon and serve as a basis to a feedback dialogue in which the farmer and the trained RISE consultant jointly identify potentials for improving farm sustainability performance.

The RISE approach complements existing control and certification systems. It can also be employed for monitoring purposes and allows to visualize sustainability trends at individual farm level and at regional scale.

Multiple users

RISE can be used wherever sustainability in agricultural operations is an issue. It is a proven method for measuring and analysing sustainability. It is suitable for use in both advising and teaching to make sustainability understandable. The target group of RISE includes all stakeholders in agriculture, civil society and industry who are striving for more sustainable farming. Most RISE users work in agricultural extension, education, development cooperation and agricultural raw material sourcing. The RISE method is also taught at universities, both in Switzerland and abroad.

In use for more than 15 years 

To date, RISE has been used around the world in 56 countries by more than 300 trained RISE users on more than 2,500 agricultural operations. The operations evaluated include dairy, vegetable, arable and mixed farms, coffee, cocoa and tea plantations, smallholdings and nomadic herders.