Results: Sweden’s changing consumption footprint 2008–2014

Two questions are central to assessing progress towards the Generational Goal: Is Sweden solving the major environmental problems at home? And is Sweden reducing its negative environmental impact abroad?

PRINCE results for 2008–2014 show that major climate and air pollution-related emissions (GHGs, PM2.5, SO2, NOx) and water consumption linked to Swedish consumption fell during the period – both inside and outside Sweden’s borders – ending up between 10% and 25% lower than in 2008. In Figure 1 you can explore trends in the external and domestic portions of the Swedish consumption footprint for five key indicators.

However, for nearly all PRINCE environmental indicators, the consumption footprint falls overwhelmingly outside Sweden’s borders (Figure 2), which is to be expected given Sweden’s heavily import-dependent economy. Figure 2 compares the domestic and external portions for a larger group of PRINCE indicators for 2014.

Figure 1. Comparison of domestic and external portions of the Swedish consumption footprint for four key PRINCE indicators, 2008–2014

 

 

Figure 2. Comparison of domestic and external portions for eight key PRINCE indicators, 2014.
GHGs = greenhouse gases; SO2 = sulphur dioxide; NOx = nitrogen oxides; PM2.5 = fine particulate matter; PM10 = course particulate matter; Water = blue water consumption.
Based on preliminary PRINCE data and Fauré et al. (in review).

Value added rises as environmental impacts fall

Strikingly, these reductions in environmental pressures happened as “value added” across the Swedish economy grew. Value added is the difference between the value of outputs from industrial sectors and the value of inputs to them. Figure 3 compares trends in major indicators (combining internal and external) with trends in value added in the Swedish economy during the period. As can be seen, both value added and the consumption-based indicators fell markedly in the wake of the financial problems of 2008. However, after a short uptick, the environmental pressures associated with Swedish consumption, and then continued to fall while value added increased.

 

Figure 3. Value added of goods and services consumed in Sweden compared with trends in some major consumption-based indicators, 2008–2014
GHGs = greenhouse gases; SO2 = sulphur dioxide; NOx = nitrogen oxides; PM2.5 = fine particulate matter; Water = blue water consumption.
Based on preliminary PRINCE data.

 

Download the PRINCE model data for 2008–2014, on greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutants, material flows, and land and water use.