Stiftelsen Hållbart Samhälle

Economics of the Ocean Conference will hear how TSSEF's flexible pollutant fee mechanism can save phosphorus

Pressmeddelande   •   Dec 03, 2013 22:26 CET

Can we save our oceans? Should we put a price on polluting our oceans? How? These are some of the questions to be raised at the summit on the Economics of the Ocean, to be held 3-4 December 2013 at the House of Sweden, 2900 K Street, NW, in Washington, DC hosted by the Ministry of the Environment, Sweden, The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and the Embassy of Sweden, 

One of the answers being presented by Swedish sustainable technology expert Bengt Simonsson is to retrieve the phosphorus we have discarded into the ocean by a new form of dredging. And to finance it, Simonsson will be proposing the use of TSSEF - The Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation's- mechanism of flexible pollutant fees.

The event will be an opportunity for big thinkers and doers to share their thoughts and insights about emerging issues on managing the economic value of our oceans, estuaries, and coasts.  

Enabling technology
Simonsson will attempt to get participants to see  beyond contemporary perception. Where some see mud, others see a potential gold mine of resources including sources for biogas, fertilizers, land cover materials and valuable trace metals and minerals. The technology he is proposing, Density Sorting Dredging, yields possibilities to extract different fractions with specific qualities from the retrieved sediments from seabeds. The different fractions can be refined in such a way as to make them usable for other parties.

Seeing revenue streams
In this way, Density Sorting Dredging creates many possibilities to add revenue streams to restoration of aquatic environments. Indeed, the money paid by past generations to dispose of nutrients has created a potential income from refining. The destruction of natural capital from nutrient loading creates a potential income from extraction.

In principle, any pipe that connects to the municipal waste water system, or any pipe that emits directly into a watercourse can be subject to a fee. The price could be set at the same level as the cost to restore the eco-system. If eco-system damage is irreversible, then the cost to emit should be slightly higher than the price of not emitting. The economic incentive would be to choose the slightly cheaper, less polluting option.  The price can be found by discovery, using the power of the market. This approach is called the Flexible Emission Fee Mechanism from A fee is levied on emissions and raised at regular intervals until the market develops alternative, non-polluting solutions. The revenue from the fee, minus dredging and other costs, is returned to tax-payers to further stimulate the economy and distribute costs in a fair and democratic way.



The event

The Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation, established in 1995,  develops and promotes systemic approaches and solutions to the challenge of developing society in a sustainable way mainly in the areas of ecology, economy and work. The Foundation takes a non-political, holistic approach to promoting these solutions through research and development, education, spread of information and various cooperation projects, including humanitarian initiatives.

Stiftelsen Hållbart Samhälle , grundades 1995 för att utveckla  och främja systematiska metoder och lösningar för utmaningen att utveckla samhället på ett hållbart sätt. Uppdraget för stiftelsen är att främja utvecklingen av förutsättningar för hållbarhet – ren luft och vatten - genom tillämpning av finansiella instrument på nationell nivå och spridning av makroekonomiska systemlösningar.

Stiftelsen tar en icke-politisk, helhetssyn för att främja dessa lösningar genom forskning och utveckling, utbildning, spridning av information och olika samarbetsprojekt, bland annat humanitära insatser.