With globalized trade, a significant share of the environmental impacts linked to a country’s consumption of goods and services takes place outside its borders. There is a growing interest among policy-makers in many countries in finding ways to reduce such external environmental impacts of consumption. But it is not always clear what policy instruments might offer the most efficient ways of doing so.

This policy brief is based on a study that explored ways to bridge this gap. SEI was commissioned by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to examine what existing and possible policy instruments Sweden could use to tackle the external environmental footprint arising from Swedish consumption. This study found around 60 applicable policy instruments.

The brief outlines the three-step analytical approach developed in the study to identify relevant policy instruments:

  1. Mapping the national consumption profile, looking at the ratio of imported goods to total national consumption of goods, and at the main categories of imported products;
  2. Identifying relevant policy instruments, to address product categories and source countries of most concern – including existing policies that are or could be applied, perhaps with adaptations, and policies that could be introduced.
  3. Classifying and prioritizing the policy instruments, as the basis for formulating an action strategy.

The brief then offers some headline findings and policy considerations, which could be applicable to other countries seeking to reduce their external environmental footprint through policy.

Download the policy brief (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Download the full report (PDF, 1.5MB; in Swedish)