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29 Nov 2017


WTI launches new sustainability project

The WTI has won funding for a major new research project entitled, ‘Switzerland’s Sustainability Footprint: Economic and Legal Challenges’.

The project will focus on a number of complex, contemporary policy problems and tackle these using an interdisciplinary approach. The research team will develop new measures of sustainability footprint targets for the Swiss economy, extend the literature on the effectiveness of alternative tax-based and voluntary instruments in meeting these targets, and address treaty-based constraints on the use of alternative instruments.

The work at the WTI will involve close collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO) research division and United Nations International Trade Centre (UNITC).

The team led by WTI Managing Director Joseph Francois comprises Eddy Bekkers, Ilaria Espa, Octavio Fernandez, Doris Oberdabernig, Doina Radulescu, Tetyana Payosova and Patrick Tomberger. The researchers will create and make use of new databases that provide worldwide inventories  based on production and consumption activities for carbon dioxide emissions, water use, and forest and land use at a sectoral level.

The research project will be divided into four work packages (WP). WP1 will develop sustainability footprint inventories and define the main measures related to international trade, production and consumption impacts. WP2 will elaborate forward projections of emissions, water and forest usage by the Swiss economy based on alternative scenarios. WP3 will analyse the economic and legal design of tax schemes as sustainability policy instruments. And WP4 will focus on the potential of green labelling schemes, as opposed to tax or related incentive schemes, for reducing the Swiss environmental footprint.

The sustainability project began in September 2017 and will run for four years. It is financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).