On 25 September 2016, the Swiss electorate will vote on the popular initiative: ‘For a sustainable and resource-efficient economy (Green Economy)’. The successful adoption of the initiative will oblige 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 will be required to 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.
In arguing that “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.
Disputing the achievability of these targets, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN openly opposes the initiative, and instead submitted a dispatch for the revision of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) (German language), focusing on voluntary contributions to change in a ‘step by step’ manner.