Today saw publication of the final report of the PRINCE project. The report, Miljöpåverkan från svensk konsumtion: Nya indikatorer för uppföljning [Environmental impacts from Swedish consumption: New indicators for follow-up] was published by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. It presents new indicators of environmental impacts from private and public-sector consumption as well as investments, including both impacts inside Sweden and those in the countries and regions where products consumed in Sweden are produced.
“We can see that the environmental impacts of Swedish consumption are relatively large per capita, and a large share occur outside Sweden’s borders”, says project leader Viveka Palm of Statistics Sweden.
The new results show that around two-thirds of the emissions of greenhouse gases and particulate matter occurred outside Sweden in 2014. As well as Sweden, emissions were in large major countries like China, Russia, Germany and the USA, but also in many other countries that Sweden imports from directly or indirectly.
The model developed to generate the new indicators uses statistics from SCB on economic activity and environmental impacts in Sweden with the international MRIO model Exiobase 3, which links environmental impacts to economic activity in the global economy. This makes it possible to estimate environmental impacts along Sweden’s supply chains.
Among the results, the project confirms the findings of earlier studies that consumption of food and drink, transport and investments in construction and infrastructure account for large shares of nearly all the emissions of GHGs and air pollutants measured, and that use of fossil fuels are a key factor beyond a large share of consumption impacts.
“A very large share, between 75 and 95 percent, of the use of pesticides and veterinary antibiotics in producing food products consumed in Sweden occurs abroad, on account of food imports,” says Christel Cederberg, acting professor at Chalmers University of Technology, who led PRINCE subproject 3. “The biggest share is in Europe, but for insecticide use, South America is very important.”
The report also includes a chapter on development of indicators for use and emissions of hazardous chemical products.
“In this project we’ve developed broad indicators that instead of looking at individual chemicals give a general picture of the use of hazardous chemical products. A large share of chemical use and emissions happens outside Sweden, in the EU and beyond. That shows we need new tools to work towards sustainable consumption and production,” says Göran Finnveden, professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, who led work in subproject 4.
“The research results are an important resource for follow-up of the national environmental goals, especially the Generational Goal,” says Anita Lundstöm of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. “Naturvårdsverket (the Swedish EPA) will work further with these results. The goal will be to develop tools that Swedish government agencies can use to follow-up on the environmental burden imposed by Swedish consumption.”
The report is in Swedish, but includes a summary in English.
The new report presents an overview of the work done in PRINCE. You can find more information on the results and PRINCE case studies, and publications from the project on this website. Technical results will also be published in a suite of academic papers collected in a special issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production due out later this year.
Time series data from the PRINCE model – covering greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions, material flows and water and land use are now available for download.