Indicator Economy and Consumption

Greenhouse gas footprint

The consumption of goods and services is often linked to greenhouse gas emissions, such as from transport, building heating systems, industry and the extraction of raw materials. Nitrous oxide and methane emissions originate specifically from agriculture and waste management.

In a globalised economy, both the greenhouse gases emitted in Switzerland and those emitted abroad as a result of Swiss final demand must be recorded (total final consumption expenditure of households and the public sector). Due to the high proportion of imports in total consumption, a large portion of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by Swiss consumption occur abroad.

Assessment of the state
poor poor
Assessment of the trend
unsatisfactory unsatisfactory
Per person
Greenhouse gas emissions caused by the consumption of goods and services in Switzerland

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FOEN, FSO
Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2018: 74.081473662594 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2018: 39.726533961703 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2017: 82.5903211405333 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2017: 41.447534223378 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2016: 77.5587699821577 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2016: 42.3225466366434 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2015: 74.3402173955136 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2015: 42.1493852506465 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2014: 75.0555950050512 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2014: 41.6031860733435 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2013: 77.329108227008 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2013: 44.8866367170774 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2012: 80.4082267886618 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2012: 43.8457602652706 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2011: 81.2850410207557 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2011: 42.7925761968901 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2010: 71.1134385558379 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2010: 45.8912810862768 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2009: 65.2877198732427 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2009: 44.711039158138 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2008: 65.8104326248698 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2008: 45.1786689837539 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2007: 75.1189481113921 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2007: 44.4038810801996 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2006: 77.0570328568257 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2006: 46.5738877734221 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2005: 71.9891256436581 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2005: 47.4690273964293 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2004: 74.2792780651035 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2004: 47.228771914152 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2003: 71.8872652583822 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2003: 47.5361922336748 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2002: 79.3337132828182 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2002: 47.075069823448 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2001: 86.0627241930285 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2001: 47.8023953000041 Emissions abroad based on domestic consumption 2000: 80.8475076797184 Emissions in Switzerland based on domestic consumption 2000: 46.4733510016354
Greenhouse gas emissions caused by the consumption of goods and services in Switzerland

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FSO
Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2018: 144.062894395239 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2017: 130.709322566909 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2016: 133.236552164606 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2015: 136.073695933486 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2014: 133.590710172745 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2013: 123.952749875212 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2012: 122.447149196455 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2011: 123.677940328559 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2010: 125.269258329013 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2009: 133.156032801255 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2008: 129.417032575343 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2007: 116.883981275885 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2006: 112.469251625018 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2005: 113.977572875744 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2004: 107.649842694867 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2003: 109.579735272701 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2002: 102.767527563004 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2001: 97.1323201207646 Changes in consumption-related greenhouse gas efficiency  2000: 100
Final domestic demand of goods and services to greenhouse gas footprint ratio

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FSO
Comment

In 2018, the greenhouse gas footprint per capita amounted to around 13 tonnes of CO2-equivalents – well over the average of the EU countries. In 2000, it was nearly 18 tonnes per capita, which means that it has fallen by around a quarter.

The greenhouse gas footprint is far in excess of a level that is in line with the planetary boundaries. A study, which assumes an equal global right to emissions (Dao et al., 2018), placed this right at 0.6 tonnes per capita in 2015.  The current trend is significantly above the required reduction. For these reasons, the state is rated as negative and the trend, despite a reduction, as unsatisfactory.  

Although the population grew by 18% during the period considered, total emissions have fallen by 11%.

The proportion of domestic and import-related emissions has remained relatively constant. In 2018, 65% of them were caused abroad.

 Between 2000 and 2018, greenhouse gas footprint efficiency increased by around 44%. Consequently, a decoupling between the growth in prosperity and greenhouse gas emissions has taken place. This may have different causes, such as more resource-efficient technologies or a rising market share of environmentally-friendlier goods and services.

 

International comparison

An international comparison is only indirectly possible, due to differing system limits and the life cycle models that were used as a basis. According to Tukker et al. (2014) and the calculations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Switzerland’s greenhouse gas footprint is excessively high in international comparison.

Method

The statistical concept of the greenhouse gas footprint is used to determine total greenhouse gas emissions caused by the final demand for goods and services in Switzerland. In addition to domestic emissions, the emissions generated abroad in the production of goods and services destined for Switzerland are also taken into account.

The footprint comprises the direct emissions from households, the emissions due to the final demand of households and the public sector, and the emissions in connection with gross fixed capital formation (GFCF).

The greenhouse gas footprint is a quantity that must be modelled. The results presented here are based on air emissions accounts, the input-output tables of the national accounts and a weighting of the imported emissions. The weighting takes into account the CO2 emission intensity of the origin of Swiss imports. The greenhouse gas intensity of exports from the EU is weighted using an overall aggregate ratio of total CO2 emissions to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the respective economic region.

The greenhouse gases taken into account are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and synthetic gases (HFC, PFC, SF6, NF3) in CO2 equivalents.       

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Deviation from theoretical path in% Observed trend Assessment
0.6 n 2015 2000 2018 21.48% Towards theoretical path unsatisfactory
 
Last updated on: 14.06.2021

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