Indicators for national consumption-based accounting of chemicals
Journal article, 2019
Increased chemical use is causing a growing number of environmental problems and chemical products
are pervasive in societies within animal and crop-based agriculture, in industrial processes and in
households. National environmental targets, as well as the global chemical-related goals in the 2030
Agenda, call for the monitoring of chemical use and emissions. The growing international trade of goods,
where use and regulation of chemical inputs vary highly between countries, complicates measurements.
This paper addresses these issues by deriving a set of indicators on chemical use and emissions and
connect the global impacts to a country's total consumption, here using the case of Sweden. The indicators
are based on a hybrid model combining the multi-regional input-output analysis database
EXIOBASE with data from the Swedish System of Economic and Environmental Accounts together with a
novel set of environmental extensions. A review of databases is conducted and discussed in relation to
the driver-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR) framework for indicators. Five indicators are calculated,
showing the chemical use and emissions connected to consumption, both within a country and
abroad. The indicators are: use of hazardous chemical products, use of pesticides, use of antimicrobial
veterinary medicines, emissions of hazardous substances, and of the potential toxicity of these emissions.
substances is largely taking place outside the Swedish borders. Only 10e24% of the pressure from
Swedish consumption is shown to occur within Sweden's borders, depending on the indicator. The use of
hazardous chemical products and veterinary medicines related to Swedish consumption primarily takes
place in other EU countries, whereas the use of pesticides as well as reported emissions of pollutants
occur mainly in countries outside the EU. The results highlight the need for improved international
accounting of chemical flows, as well as for strengthened policy frameworks to address cross-border
impacts of consumption of hazardous chemical products.