Swiss case study

Since the 1990s, Switzerland has developed a new agricultural policy centred on the principle of multifunctionality. Complying with a comparatively high environmental standard is a condition for farmers to access state support. In parallel, environmental certification processes for food have burgeoned and multiplied. Some are farmers’ led, others have been developed retailers, as an environmental branding.

In this case study, we want to explore the complex interrelations that develop between governance instruments developed by the state, private actors, and the civil society, in Switzerland. What does this complex assemblage of tools produce at the level of concrete practices and lived experience of actors involved in the food production?

Therefore, we study more closely two initiatives. First, we explore the network surrounding the IP-Suisse label. The IP-Suisse ladybug has become a well-known symbol for sustainable products in Switzerland. The association was created by farmers and developed, in synergy with the national agricultural policy, in close collaboration with actors at all levels of the agri-food system and environmental NGOs. In addition, we follow as well the development of a pilot project for result based schemes in soil protection developed in a partnership between public agency at the regional and national level, extension services and research.