Sweden has a policy goal of solving major environmental problems in Sweden within a generation, without increasing environmental or health problems in other countries. Following up on this Generational Goal requires a set of indicators that can measure and compare both the domestic and the external footprints of Swedish consumption.
This article presents such a set of macro-level indicators for the years 2008–2014. These new indicators are generated using a hybrid modelling approach that makes them consistent with Swedish statistics from the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts. The approach combines a multiregional input-output (MRIO) database, EXIOBASE3 (to capture the external components of Sweden’s consumption and the environmental pressures associated with them) with national input-output, trade and environmental statistics. The hybrid MRIO-Sweden model provides a comprehensive environmental account for follow-up of the Generational Goal.
This article presents indicators of pressures linked to Swedish household consumption, government consumption and capital formation, covering emissions of greenhouse gases, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter smaller than 2.5 μm (PM2.5), along with land use, materials consumption, and blue water consumption.
Except for land use, the majority (60% or more) of the environmental pressures due to Swedish consumption occurred outside Sweden in 2014; more than 90% of SO2 emissions and more than 80% of the water consumption occurred abroad.
The environmental pressures from Swedish consumption decreased over this period for all indicators except materials consumption. This suggests an absolute decoupling between environmental pressure due to consumption and economic growth, which rose over the period. It is, however, too early to determine whether this is a genuine trend or a temporary stabilization.