49th Discussion forum on LCA—sustainable consumption patterns—September 18, 2012, Zurich, Switzerland
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There are different ways and strategies to reduce the environmental impacts caused today. One starting point for reducing the environmental impacts of today is the private consumption. Finally, all goods and services provided in a country contribute to fulfil the needs and demands of consumers. Several national and international initiatives therefore aim for a considerable reduction of the environmental impacts of consumption patterns. The 49th LCA Discussion Forum analysed the present consumption patterns of households and their consequent environmental impacts. Based on this, potentials for a reduction of the environmental impacts were identified and discussed. In this context, the possible applications, advantages and drawbacks of the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology were analysed. National and international speakers provided qualified insights on the topic. The 49th Discussion Forum concentrated on different aspects of sustainable consumption patterns. The focus lay on private households and the environmental impacts caused by their consumption patterns. In the first session, the idea of the “2000-Watt society” was introduced as an example of a concept of a “sustainable lifestyle”. Another way of analysing the total impacts is the consumption perspective introduced in a second presentation. Based on an analysis of environmental impacts due to final demand of Swiss households, different measures for a reduction of environmental impacts were proposed and analysed. The second session examined similar activities in Germany. The short presentations covered the communication of LCA results. The third session focused on web-based eco-calculators. In the last session, two scientific inputs were given on the modelling of household consumption patterns and on the impact of rebound effects on the environmental impact of private consumption. The most important consumption domains are nutrition, mobility and energy use in households. Apart from different modelling approaches and boundary conditions, the majority of the presentations showed that today’s consumption patterns in Switzerland and Germany are far away from a sustainable level. Considerable reduction measures are needed in order to reach this goal. Eco-calculators and similar tools provide an effective way to raise customer awareness. In general, it is very important to communicate LCA results in a simple, clear and transparent way.
Keywords“2000-Watt Society” Eco-calculator Footprint Lifestyles Sustainable consumption
We thank the speakers for their interesting contributions to this Discussion Forum.
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