Economic consulting

Various advisory services are available within the FOEN to provide support for macroeconomic and environmental-economic issues. The main focus of the advisory services is on ex-ante and ex-post evaluations.

The aim of economic consulting is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of environmental policy and the associated measures. Several guidelines are available for this purpose in order to provide targeted and effective advice to the FOEN's specialist sections.

Economic assessment of environmental measures (VOBU; ex-ante evaluation)

Environmental policy measures (e.g. draft legislation, sets of measures and action plans) have an impact on the economy, society and the environment (economic repercussions). In order to study the potential effect of planned measures before their introduction, and to assess the efficiency of their implementation, the FOEN applies guidelines on the economic assessment of environmental measures (known by the German acronym VOBU). These meet SECO's regulatory impact assessment (RIA) requirements and the ARE's sustainability assessment requirements.

With the help of these guidelines, environmental measures can be assessed in advance with regard to their effectiveness, benefits, costs, and economic viability for the sectors or regions concerned and their ease of implementation. The guidelines therefore help to organise and continuously improve environmental policy as effectively and economically as possible. At the same time, the impact of the measures is made transparent.

The guidelines on monetising the environmental impacts of policies allow users to easily estimate the environmental costs and benefits of regulations that have environmental implications. The monetisation steps are explained, the different cost rates are discussed, and the way in which uncertainties can be handled is shown. The potentially critical key steps are illustrated with case studies. These guidelines are intended to supplement the existing instruments (guidelines on the economic assessment of environmental measures (VOBU), RIA manual and sustainability assessment guidelines).

The OECD recommends that regulations ensure that the economic, social and environmental benefits justify costs, that distributional effects are taken into account and that net benefits are maximised. Costs and benefits can be identified with the help of a cost-benefit analysis. The OECD publication 'Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Environment' (2018) gives an overview of the theory and practical application of environmental cost-benefit analyses.

Ex-post evaluation

The aim of ex-post evaluations is to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and relevance of programmes, projects or measures after they have already been implemented. The object of the evaluation is clearly defined and the evaluation is carried out systematically and transparently.

Evaluations serve:

  • to identify optimisation potential and develop suggestions for improvement through the systematic and transparent evaluation of programmes. On this basis, programmes can be further developed and optimised;
  • to strengthen accountability by publishing results demonstrating the effectiveness and efficiency of measures and the degree to which objectives have been achieved;
  • to improve future decisions and planning by providing insights into the interdependencies as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of interventions;
  • to provide evidence-based information as a basis for informed decisions, for example when allocating resources or designing new programmes.

Guidelines have been drawn up for persons commissioning ex-post evaluations at the FOEN; these can be requested from the Economics Section:

Further information

Last modification 22.12.2023

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