Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Policy-Relevant Indicators for National Consumption and Environment (PRINCE)

PRINCE (for Policy Relevant Indicators for Consumption and Environment) was a three-year project set up to explore ways to improve and expand the set of indicators used to estimate the environmental impacts linked to Swedish consumption, both within Sweden and abroad. Any new methods and indicators should be policy relevant and easilyrepeatable, drawing on credible, timely data.

Duration
2015  -   2018
Contact
Bertram de Boer
Partners

Statistics Sweden
Stockholm Environment Institute
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Chalmers University of Technology
Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)

Short abstract

The PRINCE project is developing 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.

Project description

"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?

Consumption is one of the main routes by which economies impact natural ecosystems. The impacts might come through 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.

Sweden keeps good data on the environmental performance of its farms, factories and transportation system. But much of what is consumed in the country is imported. Sweden’s environmental commitment means that we need to keep track of the environmental pressures linked to imported goods and services too.

The PRINCE project 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 – for Policy-Relevant Indicators for National Consumption and Environment – 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
  • provides a sound basis for policy decisions.

A set of academic papers relating to the PRINCE work have been submitted for a special issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Cleaner Production. Several others are under review or already published.

CML managed one of the work packages aimed at assessing hotspots in the global environmental impact of Swedish consumption in the realm of global warming, air pollution and resource use, in order to prioritize data refinements efforts, as well as to explore the possibilities of adding water scarcity and fish metrics. This hotspot analysis was carried out using EXIOBASE v3.3.

De Boer, B.F., Rodrigues, J.F.D., Tukker, A., 2019. Reducing import embodied footprints of the European Union through source shifting (submitted)

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