Reducing the barriers to resource efficiency and circular economy

The study identifies the most important ecological and economic reduction potentials for Switzerland and examine where the barriers to the realization of these reduction potentials are and how they can be removed.



1) Identification of the relevant ecological and economic potentials 2) Identification and weighting of barriers 3) Derivation of possible solutions to overcome the identified barriers

Course of action

The study launched in response to the postulate submitted by National Councillor Ruedi Noser is intended to identify the important ecological and economic reduction potentials on the basis of existing and additional economic evaluations. The identification of these potentials will serve as a basis for identifying where the barriers for the realization of the reduction potentials lie and, building on this, for analyzing how they can be reduced.


The selection of the most relevant potential areas and fields of action shows that the very large environmental potentials lie in a manageable number of areas. These are food, including agricultural production, construction and housing, and mobility. The realization of the analyzed potential for improvement is hindered by a variety of obstacles in the existing market and regime structures. The fundamental barrier lies in the insufficient transparency of costs, which currently means that economic incentives for the implementation of sustainable solutions and technologies are largely lacking for market actors, but also for consumers. In view of these heterogeneous constellations of barriers, an overall systemic approach and control at the most diverse levels at various starting points is necessary. This is the only way to achieve a sufficiently effective and rapid change in the way we do business and consume. This requires decisive - beyond the regulatory-normative level - and systemically coordinated adjustments in the entire socio-technical regime in order to trigger the necessary disruptive changes. Isolated policy action will not meet this requirement.

Looking ahead

The exploitation of ecological and economic potentials requires coordinated and major efforts in all three economic sectors and among the population in their role as consumers of products and services.