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Environmentally sustainable household consumption : from aggregate environmental pressures to priority fields of action

  • Unsustainable consumption patterns of the North (or rather of the global affluent consumers class) have been identified by Agenda 21 as one of the key driving forces behind the unsustainable development. However, neither accounting based on the system of national accounts SNA nor household economics provide the proper instruments to assess the environmental impact of household decision making. Eco-efficiency assessments as familiar in the business sector provide no appropriate tool for households. As an alternative an environmental space based assessment scheme is suggested covering the major pressures on the environment caused by household decisions. The methodology is used twice: once to analyse the environmental relevance of the mainUnsustainable consumption patterns of the North (or rather of the global affluent consumers class) have been identified by Agenda 21 as one of the key driving forces behind the unsustainable development. However, neither accounting based on the system of national accounts SNA nor household economics provide the proper instruments to assess the environmental impact of household decision making. Eco-efficiency assessments as familiar in the business sector provide no appropriate tool for households. As an alternative an environmental space based assessment scheme is suggested covering the major pressures on the environment caused by household decisions. The methodology is used twice: once to analyse the environmental relevance of the main activity clusters of household consumption and once to identify the dominant acts of consumption within each cluster. The latter provide the basis for deriving environmental performance indicators. A rough analysis of household influence potentials permits to identify housing, eating and mobility as the three priority fields for action for minimising the environmental impact of households. Extending the influence analysis actor matrixes are derived allocating influence and thus responsibility for environmental pressures to different groups of economic agents.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Peer-Reviewed Article
Author:Joachim H. Spangenberg, Sylvia Lorek
Year of Publication:2002
Language:English
Source Title (English):Ecological economics
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(02)00212-4
Volume:43
Issue:2/3
First Page:127
Last Page:140
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Wirtschaft
Abteilung:Abteilung Stoffströme und Strukturwandel