The report “Flexible emission fees: an incentive for driving pollution reduction and sustainable production and consumption” released by the Nordic Council of Ministers investigates the possibilities of increasing emissions fees until market forces respond with non-polluting alternatives.
The project group was given the task of exploring ways to harness market forces to address the challenge of continued growth in the economy whilst transitioning economic activities into a non-polluting, sustainable mode.
The report concludes that by increasing fees until the market responds, and by redistributing some or all of the fees levied back to consumers, market forces may well be able to respond by seizing the opportunity to supply relatively cheaper, non-polluting goods and services whilst older, more polluting alternatives retain financial stability during their phase-out period.
The report is the result of an investigation, commissioned by the Nordic Council’s Working Group on Sustainable Consumption and Production (HKP) and carried out by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), together with the Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation.
Pragmatic means for policy-making
Speaking last year at a workshop arranged within the frame of the project, Karl-Henrik Robért, founder of the Natural Step, said:
- Hence, flexible fees offer an elegant pragmatic means for policy-making to support strategic sustainable development”. At the same workshop, Professor Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Environment Institute, challenged economists with the scientific evidence that economic growth potential is seriously undermined as the Earth’s carrying capacity has been exceeded already and natural systems are degrading rapidly.
The Nordic Council of Minister’s Working Group for Sustainable Consumption and Production (HKP) is a co-operation forum for the Environment, Business and Consumer sectors. The objectives of all the sectors are taken into consideration in the group's working program. The aim of the group is to develop, co-ordinate and evaluate the necessary means of control in the work with sustainable consumption and production.