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. and Wood, R. (2022). New methods and indicators supporting policies for sustainable consumption. Policy and indicator developments in PRINCE. EPA report no. 7032. Naturvårdsverket, Stockholm. (English and Swedish language versions). ISBN: 978-91-620-7032-8


The PRINCE project – Policy Relevant Indicators for Consumption and Environment – has explored ways to improve and expand consumption-based indicators so that they can be usefully deployed in policymaking in Sweden. This report sets out the results from this major multi-partner project.

Developments in the policy landscape and data capabilities in the last ten years or so have greatly increased the significance of consumption-based indicators.

In Sweden, the PRINCE projects are at the forefront of these developments. The first PRINCE project ran between 2015 and 2018 and explored ways to improve and expand the set of indicators used to estimate the environmental pressures linked to Swedish consumption, both within Sweden and abroad. This report has been produced in the second PRINCE project.

Key findings

The first PRINCE project has had significant influence on policy processes by:

  • motivating the investigation of a goal for Sweden’s consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions
  • supporting the development of data for monitoring the UK’s new 25 Year Environment Plan
  • supporting the development of deforestation strategy for the EU.

The gap analyses of PRINCE 2 have demonstrated the clear need and potential to expand the current production of indicators in official statistics to cover the following areas:

  • deforestation-related greenhouse gas emissions
  • catch fisheries and aquaculture
  • hazardous chemical products
  • veterinary medicine products
  • pesticides
  • biodiversity.

Human and financial resources are necessary to be able to produce and maintain official statistics in the areas noted above. Further investigation is needed on the potential for other indicators from PRINCE 1 (e.g. on land, material flows and water) to be produced as official statistics.

There is still large potential for increased policy uptake for consumption-based approaches.