New methods and indicators supporting policies for sustainable consumption

New methods and indicators supporting policies for sustainable consumption Brown, N., Croft, S., Dawkins, E., Finnveden, G., Green, J., Persson, M., Roth, S., West, C….

Webinar: Tracking Sweden’s consumption-based environmental impacts

Watch our webinar recording from 30 November on the gaps and possibilities between the current tools to measure consumption-based environmental pressures and the policy-landscape in achieving SDG12.

Greenhouse gases, Water, Materials, Land, Energy

In phase one of the PRINCE research programme, a data model and indicators to describe the environmental and climate impact of Swedish consumption were developed. Explore the PRINCE results.

What is PRINCE?

The PRINCE – Policy-Relevant Indicators for National Consumption and Environment – project has developed a new framework for monitoring the environmental impacts linked to Swedish consumption – both inside and outside Sweden’s borders – using the latest modelling and statistical techniques. PRINCE responds to a call from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) for a new monitoring framework that uses a sound and repeatable methodology, includes indicators for a wide range of environmental pressures and provides a sound basis for policy decisions.

Policy Relevance

The PRINCE project is designed to help Swedish policy makers follow-up on their Generational Goal. This goal is for a society in which the major environmental problems in Sweden have been solved … without increasing environmental and health problems outside Sweden’s borders. This is what Sweden has committed to deliver to the next generation. But how do know if we are on track? The PRINCE project helps answer these questions by developing a framework for calculating and monitoring Sweden’s environmental footprint.

A new monitoring framework

The main deliverable from PRINCE is an easily updated monitoring framework, including indicators for diverse environmental pressures linked to consumption in Sweden. The indicators quantify the domestic and external pressures associated with consumption in Sweden of 59 “product groups“. The framework also distinguishes between government and private-sector consumption, along with capital investments.

What is novel about the model is that it connects detailed national statistics on consumption in Sweden with global data on production, environmental pressures and supply chains, enabling Sweden to calculate consumption-based footprints of an average Swede for a wide range of environmental pressures. Combining the two allows us to understand impacts from Sweden’s consumption that occur outside of Sweden’s borders. 

The PRINCE model is designed to monitor a wide range of environmental pressures coming from extracting raw materials; particular types of land use or deforestation; emissions of hazardous chemicals or greenhouse gases during production; the water and energy used in manufacturing; transport emissions; or many other ways.

The main footprint indicators that can be found in the PRINCE results database for 2008-2014 are: 

  • Material footprint
  • Water footprint
  • Land footprint 
  • GHG footprint 
  • Energy use
  • Other emissions to air (e.g. sulphur dioxide)

The latest footprints that are being extended and investigated include: 

  • Chemical footprint
  • Land use change
  • Biodiversity
  • Fisheries

News & Publications

To share what we learn in the PRINCE project, we have produce a range of academic papers, reports and briefs. Read more about our PRINCE publications and news from the project below.