History of the Ecological Scarcity Method (ESM)
R. Müller-Wenk created a fully aggregating environmental assessment for the location of his company “Frisco-Findus AG” in Rorschach/CH for the first time (belongs today to the Nestlé corporate group). He subjectively defined the assessment aspects used, i.e. the environmental impacts and objectives to be analyzed, for this project himself. (R. Müller-Wenk: “Die ökologische Buchhaltung (Ecological Accounting)”, Campus, 1978)
The Migros corporate group in Zurich/CH is looking for a suitable method to make their increasingly more comprehensive environmental activities measurable, and above all make packaging ecologically comparable. Their attention is drawn to “Die ökologische Buchhaltung”. At the corporate group’s initiative, a study group is formed, basing the analyzed environmental impacts on the national Swiss objectives and redefining the calculation and aggregation algorithm. The aim is that environmental assessments are independent of the author of the assessment and have a legitimated assessment basis with the national environmental policy.
The Federal Office for Environment, Forestry and Landscape, Bern, Switzerland publishes the result of the study group: S. Ahbe, A. Braunschweig, R. Müller-Wenk (1990): “Methodology for Ecobalances”, series of papers Environment No. 133, published by Federal Office for Environment, Forestry and Landscape, Bern
The Federal Office for Environment, Forestry and Landscape publishes a survey of packaging data, also commissioned as an initiative of the Migros corporate group, which is to be used in the new assessment method: K. Habersatter, F. Widmer (ETH Zurich): “Ecobalance of packaging materials 1990”, series of papers Environment No. 132, published by Federal Office for Environment, Forestry and Landscape, Bern
First update of the Swiss environmental objectives and analyzed impacts (eco-factors) by the Federal Office for Environment, Forestry and Landscape
Second update of the Swiss eco-factors by the Federal Office for Environment (formerly Federal Office for Environment, Forestry and Landscape)
The Swiss federal government puts into effect the “Fuel EcobalanceEnactment” based on the Ecological Scarcity Method. This is used to verify the requirements for tax benefits in the case of environmentally friendly manufacturing of biogenic fuels.
Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg/D, is looking for a suitable method to make the results of environmental management at their numerous locations worldwide measurable and assessable. A dissertation on this question carried out in advance indicated that the Swiss Ecological Scarcity Method was very suitable, but the corresponding assessment basis was lacking for Germany. In response to this, the board of directors of Volkswagen AG commissions the creation of the assessment basis, initially for Germany. The survey is carried out with support of the German Federal Environment Ministry and Federal Environmental Agency.
Third revision of the Swiss eco-factors by the Federal Office for Environment
Publication of the assessment basis for Germany by Volkswagen AG: S. Ahbe et al.: “Ecological scarcity method for Germany”, Logos publishing company, 2014
Volkswagen AG commissions the survey of the assessment basis for the EU28 as an entire unit and for the individual nations. The surveys are carried out with support and input from the European Commission (JRC in Seville) and European Environmental Agency (EEA in Copenhagen).
Publication of the assessment basis for the EU28: S. Ahbe, S. Weihofen, S. Wellge: “The Ecological Scarcity Method for the European Union”, Springer, 2018
Volkswagen AG commissions additional surveys of the eco-factors of eight large location countries (including USA, Russia, China)
A study group from Germany and Switzerland is formed to create the requirements for environmental assessment software according to the eco-scout standard that is suitable for business applications. This study group is supported by an advisory board / monitoring group consisting of several large companies as well as the Swiss Federal Office for Environment, the German Federal Environment Ministry, and the German Federal Office for Environment.
The first software for environmental assessment according to the eco-scout standard of Ecospeed AG/Zurich becomes available.