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|Title:||Environmental impacts of household consumption in Europe: comparing process-based LCA and environmentally extended input-output analysis|
|Authors:||CASTELLANI VALENTINA; BEYLOT ANTOINE; SALA SERENELLA|
|Citation:||JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION vol. 240 p. 117966|
|Publisher:||ELSEVIER SCI LTD|
|Type:||Articles in periodicals and books|
|Abstract:||The environmental impacts generated by household consumption are generally calculated through footprints, allocating the supply-chain impacts to the final consumers. This study compares the result of the Consumer Footprint indicator, aimed at assessing the impacts of household consumption in Europe, calculated with the two standard approaches usually implemented for footprint calculations: (i) a bottom-up approach, based on process-Life cycle assessment of a set of products and services representing household consumption, and (ii) a top-down approach, based on environmentally extended input-output tables (EXIOBASE 3). Environmental impacts are calculated considering 14 environmental impact categories out of the 16 included in the EF2017 impact assessment method. Both footprints show similar total values regarding climate change, freshwater eutrophication and fossil resource use, but in the meantime very large differences (more than a factor 2) regarding particulate matter, photochemical ozone formation, land use and mineral resource use. The exclusion of services in the bottom-up approach can explain only to some extent these differences. However, the two approaches converge in identifying food as the main driver of impact in most of the impact categories considered (with a generally lower contribution in top-down compared to bottom-up). Housing and mobility are relevant as well for some impact categories (e.g. particulate matter and fossil resource depletion). Some substances are identified as hotspot by both approaches, e.g. the emission of NH3 to air (for acidification and terrestrial eutrophication), of NOx to air (for acidification, marine and terrestrial eutrophication, and, to some extent, photochemical ozone formation), of P to water and to soil (for freshwater eutrophication) and of fossil CO2 to air (for climate change). Significant differences at the inventory side are key drivers for the differences in total impacts. These include: (i) differences in the intensity of emissions, (ii) differences in the coverage of elementary flows, (iii) differences in the level of detail relative to elementary flows. Overall, the key converging results from both approaches (in particular regarding most contributing areas of consumption and substances) can be considered as a robust basis to support the definition of policies aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of household consumption in Europe.|
|JRC Directorate:||Sustainable Resources|
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