Environmental Footprints

Consumption-based environmental impacts by countries, regions and social groups

  1. Global Impact Assessment
  2. Our group calculates environmental load of consumption for a wide range of impacts, including energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water, land materials, biodiversity, but also labour and value added. We have published a number of studies that analysed structures of global supply chains based on multiregional input-output (MRIO) data and calculated environmental footprints by various countries and industries.

    The consumption-based emission graph below presents presents some of our findings from a recent journal publication. The study examined the global development of consumption-based environmental impacts between 1995 and 2011. A global impact overview is useful for asessing the potential for decoupling of impacts and economic growth. Key environmental indicators in our study include energy use, GHG emissions, material use, water use and land use.

    picture: Consumption-based GHG emissions (intCO2eq./cap)

  3. EU Regional Assessment
  4. Trade and consumption data is generally available on a country level. Our group has been working towards disaggregating results spatially. Environmental footprints of EU households were spatially disaggregated by 177 regions using harmonised consumer expenditure surveys. Results by key indicators (GHG emissions, water, land and material use) and by consumption domains (food, shelter, clothing, transport, manufactured products and services) are visualised here.

    picture:Total household carbon footprint picture:Average household carbon footprint

  5. Spatial Footprints
  6. The Footprint2.0 research project aims to build links between environmental science and economics. We are developing data and software interfaces to connect environmental earth observation data with supply chain and econometric models. The spatial footprint approach can be generalised to link spatial (GIS) and global supply chain (MRIO) information. The underlying global supply chain database traces over 5 billion supply chains through 15,000 sectors across 187 countries.

    1. Biodiversity Footprints
    2. One use of this approach is to calculate biodiversity footprints. In many biodiversity hotspots, export industries drive overexploitation. Successful conservation efforts need to consider the supply chains and consumer demand that ultimately drive resource use.Spatially explicit biodiversity footprints can connect conservationists, consumers, companies and governments in order to better target conservation actions.

      D. Moran, K. Kanemoto. Identifying Species Threat Hotspots from Global Supply Chains Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(1), 0023, 2017 (  Video abstract )

      picture fig.2a picture fig.2b
    3. LCA + Biodiversity
    4. Current footprint assessments typically report on environmental pressures e.g. water use or pollutant emissions, driven by consumption. However, there have been limited attempts to assess the environmental consequences of these pressures. Ultimately, consequences, not pressures, should guide environmental policymaking. The newly released LC-Impact tool offers progress on the path to providing this missing link.

      F. Verones, D. Moran, K. Stadler, K. Kanemoto, R. Wood. Resource footprints and their ecosystem consequences Scientific Reports, 7, 40743, 2017.

      picture:Impact footprints of nations
    5. Air Quality and Carbon Footprints
    6. We present a new spatially explicit modeling approach to link SO2, NOX, and PM10 severe emissions hotspots to final consumers via global supply chains. These maps show developed countries reducing their emissions domestically but driving new pollution hotspots in developing countries. This is also the first time a spatially explicit footprint inventory has been established.

      In another project we connected a spatially explicit map of primary GHG emissions to a classic carbon footprint supply chain database. Allowing businesses and households to see an actual map of where their purchases drive emissions globally can help promote engagement plans, including increased engagement between consumers and upstream suppliers.

      picture:consumption changes