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Keywords:

  • ecological footprint;
  • environmental load;
  • greenhouse effect;
  • input-output analysis (IOA);
  • life-cycle assessment (LCA);
  • trade

Summary

This article describes a method for determining the environmental load of Dutch private consumption. The method generates detailed information about consumption-related environmental impacts. The environmental load of households (direct) and production (indirect) was determined for 360 expenditure categories reported in the Dutch Expenditure Survey. The indirect environmental load was calculated with linked input-output tables covering worldwide production and trade. The environmental load per Euro turnover of industries was linked to consumer expenditures. With this method we can quantify several types of environmental load per expenditure category and per economic production region.

It was found that food production, room heating, and car use are the most important elements in the environmental load of Dutch private consumption. The impacts taking place abroad were—with the exception of emission of greenhouse gases and road traffic noise—found to be larger than domestic impacts. Most land use was found to take place in developing (non-OECD) countries, whereas most emissions occur in industrialized (OECD) countries.