7. Economics and political Instruments

The discussion about ecotaxes has stopped recently, partly because of the difficulties to political implement them.

We still believe, that the tax system must shift from taxation of employees to taxation of material use and emissions. The scarcity of ressource thus is signaled by their price. The material flow balance is a good levy basis for such taxes.


Project: UNIDO project: Survey on funding to SMEs for CP projects and EST investments

Under the supervision of the Cleaner Production Unit Chief of UNIDO, Christine Jasch from the Austrian institute of environmental management and economics, IOEW, performed an international study on the existing Cleaner Production (CP) or Environmentally Sound Technology (EST) credit lines available to the national cleaner production centers. Based on the outcome of the analysis, best practice examples were examined, new CP/EST credit line mechanisms proposed and the stakeholders for its discussion identified.

The UNIDO cleaner production (CP) program and network aims at building national CP capacities, fostering dialogue between industry and government and enhancing investments for transfer and development of environmentally sound technologies. Through this program, UNIDO is bridging the gap between competitive industrial production and environmental concerns. CP is more than just a technical solution. It has a widespread application at all decision-making levels in industry, with the chief focus on adoption of cleaner technologies and techniques within the industrial sector. Costly end-of-pipe pollution control systems are gradually replaced with a strategy that reduces and avoids pollution and waste throughout the entire production cycle, from efficient use of raw materials, energy and water to the final product.

The study contains a review of the experiences of the National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCS) with a set of international programs that have been designed to promote Cleaner Production (CP). On this basis further investigations with financing institutions were carried out and funding schemes analyzed. The study is intended for use by UNIDO, the NCPCs, financial institutions and donor agencies in their considerations of how best to structure their funding schemes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Focus of the project was to carry out a study of the CP/ EST credit line mechanisms existing and/or already concluded, taking into account the information provided by the National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs) and carrying out additional investigations. The study included a specific focus on the situation in the Latin American region, as here funding schemes are most developed.

Based on the results of the previous evaluation, proposals for new credit line mechanisms were discussed with selected financial institutions. The main objectives were to recognize lessons learned by donor and executing agencies in the field of CP, and to identify recommendations on ways in which these lessons could be incorporated into efforts to promote CP among the SME clients of the NCPCs.

The results of the study and the proposals for CP/EST credit line mechanisms aim at improving the options for SMEs to obtain funding for their projects and at strengthening the position of the NCPCs as a one-stop-shop for technical and financial advice in their countries.

Project management:  Elisa Tonda, UNIDO, Christine Jasch, IOEW

Project partners: UNIDO´s Cleaner Production Centres

Project duration: April – October 2007

Project: Non-Sustainability Trends in Resource Use

The workprogramme 2005 for the Austrian Strategy on Sustainability has a focus on the assessment of non-sustainable trends in Austria. The Austrian Forum for Sustainability in co-operation with the Ökosoziales Forum and funded by the ministry on agriculture, forestry, environment and water management is putting together a position paper, that assesses non-sustainable trends in Austria and highlight possible political instruments and other measures to change or at least slow down certain trends. The results are presented to the Austrian government and a wide public.

The chapter on ressource use is being developed by the Institut für Soziale Ökologie, IFF Wien, Universität Klagenfurt and the Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung, IÖW and deals with the development of ressource use on a national level (e.g. flows of materials and energy, land use, transport, CO² emissions). Resource use in organisations, its insufficient treatment by accounting systems and disclosure requirements in environmental and financial reporting are also being analysed. Political instruments, that could stimulate a change in trends of resource are discussed. The several instruments applied in the last years have led to a de-coupling of economic growth and material consumption as well as to improvements in eco-efficiency. But, from a sustainability perspective, an actual reduction in resource use is required. The study concludes, that without a significant inclusion of environmental instruments in the fiscal policy, a change in currents trends will not be possible.


Heidi Adensam, Veronika Gaube, Helmut Haberl, Christine Jasch, Trends und Maßnahmenvorschläge zum Ressourceneinsatz, Modul 1 der Studie ?Nicht-nachhaltige Trends", Forum nachhaltiges Österreich, im Auftrag des Lebensministeriums, Wien 2005, download pdf (datei kommt in 2 wochen)

The complete study (in German only) including all chapters can be ordered at

Forum Nachhaltiges Österreich
c/o Naturfreunde Internationale
A-1150 Wien, Diefenbachgasse 36
Tel.: +43 1 8923877