Environmental country reviews

OECD Environmental performance review of Sweden: Assessment and recommendations



 Assessment & Recommendations | Press release | Data visualisation | More information | Svensk version

Sweden has shown a longstanding commitment to the environment, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and nitrogen leaching. Renewables supply more than a third of its energy needs. Sweden has set itself tough targets for the future, however, and must continue to innovate if it is to meet them, according to the Assessment and recommendations of the Environmental performance review of Sweden, published in June 2014 ahead of the full publication of the report in September 2014. 

This is the third OECD review of Sweden’s environmental performance: the first was published in 1996, the second in 2004. It provides Sweden’s policy makers with a wide-ranging assessment of environmental progress and policies.




Sweden is a front runner in many fields of environmental policy.

It has a robust, innovation-oriented economy and a well-developed welfare state system. Sweden has a sound environmental governance structure. It is among the most innovative OECD countries when it comes to environment-related technology, and has pioneered several policy instruments, many based on the principle of putting a price on environmentally harmful activities.

Progress in cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been impressive and Sweden has committed to ambitious climate goals. With neighbouring countries, Sweden shares a responsibility for the Baltic Sea, a very vulnerable marine ecosystem. Taking account of the benefits marine ecosystems in decision making is, therefore, all the more important.

While overall environmental quality is very good, the country faces challenges in meeting the very ambitious environmental quality objectives it has set for itself. The Environmental
Performance Review of Sweden identifies lessons from the
country’s experience and suggests further steps towards
a green future.



  • A comprehensive set of ambitious environmental objectives.
  • A long tradition of open, free access to environmental information and strong public support for environmental policy.
  • A well-balanced environmental policy mix that includes prices on environmentally harmful activities.
  • A low-carbon energy mix, with a high share of renewable energy resources.
  • A top ranking on the list of the most eco-innovative OECD countries.
  • A leading role in climate change mitigation, including as a pioneer in carbon taxation.


  • Lack of coherence and clarity in the way environment
    is managed at different levels of government.
  • A need to reinforce policy coherence and cost-effectiveness to make further progress and meet ambitious goals.
  • Unequal distribution of the costs of environmental and climate policies among sectors of society, with certain tax exemptions and perverse incentives remaining.
  • Relatively unfavourable conservation status for some protected habitats and species.
  • High pressures on the marine environment, including eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.
  • Insufficient consideration of the economic benefits of marine ecosystems in policy making.




OECD EPR of Sweden - Highlights by OECD_env

The entire report will be published on the OECD library in September 2014. 


For more information please contact Ivana Capozza



Photo credits : Derek Yu/Flickr, Creative Commons attribution licence., Funkform.

Icons : Rural by Evan Caughey, Water by Alessandro Suraci, Tree by Tim Boelaars, Mountain by Benni, Lake by Pieter J. Smits, Forest by Juan Pablo Bravo, Tree by Lance Hancock, all from The Noun Project


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