Sustainability goals still out of reach

Consumption of non-renewable materials is rising so fast in Switzerland that it is putting at risk the stocks left for future generations.

This content was published on April 30, 2012 - 11:26

A report into sustainable development, released by the Statistics Office on Monday in connection with the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, says the total material requirement in Switzerland has increased by more than 20 per cent since 1992.

However, the requirement per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) has declined by more than five per cent, “thanks to progress in industrial processes and increased recycling”.

One consequence of material consumption is that the production of urban waste increased by more than 30 per cent, and was far above the European Union average. But Switzerland collected 50 per cent more waste for recycling than the EU countries.

The report also says that although living conditions in Switzerland compare favourably by international standards, resources continue to be distributed unevenly. For example, in 2008 the richest 20 per cent of the Swiss population earned on average four times as much as the poorest 20 per cent – a situation which has not changed substantially since 2000. However, the gap is slightly less than the EU average. 

Since 1992, there has been a marked rise in life expectancy in good health – up eight per cent for women and nine per cent for men. This is higher than the EU average. Almost 75 per cent of people said that they were very satisfied with their life in 2010.

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