Ratio Working Paper No. 352: More from less? Economic growth and sustainability in Sweden

PublikationWorking paper
Ratio WP 352
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Can economic growth and environmental sustainability coexist? This book describes how emissions and use of natural resources has changed in Sweden over time.

Since 1990, Sweden’s population has increased by more than 1.6 million and the economy has almost doubled. At the same time, environmentally harmful emissions, and the use of natural resources in many areas have decreased both in absolute and relative terms. CO2 emissions decreased by 27 percent between 1990 and 2018. Per GDP, CO2 saw a decline by 60 percent during the period.

Consumption of water, electricity and energy has remained constant during this period, despite such an increase in GDP. Out of 26 measured pollutants, 24 had declined 1990-2018. The decline was on average 52 percent, and per GDP 77 percent.

These results give cause for cautious optimism.

If Sweden can combine a growing economy with an improved environment, other countries can follow.

Grafström, J. & Sandström, C. More from less? Economic growth and sustainability in Sweden. Ratio Working Paper No. 352. Stockholm: Ratio.

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