Sweden's Environmental Quality Objectives

The overall goal of the environmental policy is to hand on to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems facing Sweden have been solved.

Ill: Tobias Flygar

This generation goal, as it has come to be known, means reducing pressures on the environment by 2020 (for climate change by 2050) to levels that are sustainable in the long run. For this to be feasible, every sector of society must assume its share of responsibility. Public agencies, organisations, enterprises and individuals must devote more attention to environmental issues and sustainable development. Many small decisions affect the environment, and information, education and evaluation are therefore increasingly necessary.

The framework of objectives is aimed at making it possible to pursue environmental issues dynamically and specify what needs to be done, as well as to raise awareness and monitor progress. Legislation and economic instruments can go hand in hand with voluntary agreements and dialogue between government and industry. The Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are important stakeholders and are in different ways informed as well as involved in a dialogue with the Government.

To attain the generation goal, national Environmental Quality Objectives (EQOs) have been formulated for 16 areas. In 1999, 15 environmental quality objectives were adopted by the parliament. They are contained in the Government Bill 1997/98:145, Swedish Environmental Quality Goals An Environmental Policy for a Sustainable Sweden. The Government Bill 2004/05:150, Environmental Quality Objectives - A Shared Responsibility, was adopted by the parliament in November 2005 and a 16th objective, on biodiversity, was adopted.

The 16 Environmental Quality Objectives are:

  • Reduced Climate Impact
  • Clean Air
  • Natural Acidification Only
  • A Non-Toxic Environment
  • A Protective Ozone Layer
  • A Safe Radiation Environment
  • Zero Eutrophication
  • Flourishing Lakes and Streams
  • Good-Quality Groundwater
  • A Balanced Marine Environment, Flourishing Coastal Areas and Archipelagos
  • Thriving Wetlands
  • Sustainable Forests
  • A Varied Agricultural Landscape
  • A Magnificent Mountain Landscape
  • A Good Built Environment
  • A Rich Diversity of Plant and Animal Life