On 25 September 2016, the Swiss electorate voted on the popular initiative: 'Green Economy'.
The key issues in brief
Natural resources such as water, air, soil or raw materials are essential for our well-being. Nowadays people consume too many natural resources. As economies and populations grow, the pressure on the environment increases. If we are to continue to have economic prosperity while enjoying the same standard of living, we must use natural resources more efficiently.
What does the initiative aim to achieve?
The initiative requires the Confederation, cantons and communes to ensure that the Swiss economy makes efficient use of natural resources from home and abroad and does as little harm as possible to the environment. Industry should use raw materials sparingly and ensure that it creates as little waste as possible. Waste should be recyclable and be used again as raw materials in the economic cycle. If everyone in the world were to use as many natural resources as people in Switzerland do, we would need three planets like Earth to produce the resources required. The Initiative plans to reduce this consumption by 2050 so that it does not exceed the Earth’s projected natural capacity.
Opinion of the Federal Council and Parliament
The Federal Council understands the concerns expressed in the popular initiative. However, it takes the view that the target of “one Earth’s footprint by 2050” goes too far – the initiative seeks to achieve too much in too short a time. This would require drastic economic measures and may have negative consequences for competitiveness, growth and employment. The Federal Council has already introduced numerous measures aimed at the efficient use of natural resources. Parliament also supports resource efficiency, but it does not want to introduce regulations that go even further. The Federal Council and Parliament therefore reject the popular initiative.
Last modification 24.01.2022