The overall goal of Swedish environmental policy is to hand over to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems in Sweden have been solved, without increasing environmental and health problems outside Sweden’s borders.
This generational goal, which defines the direction of environmental policy, is to provide guidance regarding the values that are to be protected and the changes in society that are needed if the desired quality of the environment is to be achieved. This also calls for an ambitious environmental policy – in Sweden, within the EU and in international contexts.
The generational goal is intended to guide environmental action at every level in society. The bullet points that spell out its practical implications will be among the criteria used to assess whether the basic conditions for achieving each of the environmental quality objectives are met. The fundamental values and cross-cutting issues that were previously distinct elements of the environmental objectives system are now incorporated in this overarching goal.
What the goal means in practice
The generational goal means that the basic conditions for solving the environmental problems we face are to be achieved within one generation, and that environmental policy should be directed towards ensuring that:
- Ecosystems have recovered, or are on the way to recovery, and their long-term capacity to generate ecosystem services is assured.
- Biodiversity and the natural and cultural environment are conserved, promoted and used sustainably.
- Human health is subject to a minimum of adverse impacts from factors in the environment, at the same time as the positive impact of the environment on human health is promoted.
- Materials cycles are resource-efficient and as far as possible free from dangerous substances.
- Natural resources are managed sustainably.
- The share of renewable energy increases and use of energy is efficient, with minimal impact on the environment.
- Patterns of consumption of goods and services cause the least possible problems for the environment and human health.