Global sustainability requires large-scale reductions in rich world per capita resource use rates. Globalised, industrialised and commercialised supply paths involve high resource, energy, dollar and other costs. However, “The Simpler Way” involving small-scale integrated localised settlements and economies can enable enormous reductions in these costs. Most transport, packaging and marketing costs can be eliminated, and various outputs such as animal manures, kitchen scraps, garden biomass, household grey and black water can be transformed from costly “waste” disposal problems into direct inputs to other functions such as methane digesters, composting, and fish and animal feeds. Thus, there are also savings on the cost of inputs of fertilizer and water, etc. In addition the industrial supply path tends to have many negative “co-products”, most obviously pollution effects, whereas the local path avoids these while providing important positive co-products and social benefits. This study uses input–output analysis of one product, eggs, to illustrate how big the difference between the two paths can be. The implications for sustainable development are profound. If the findings of this study are sound and generalizable the Simpler Way would enable very large reductions in resource and ecological impacts for sustainability to be achieved, but only if extremely radical changes are made in economic, political and cultural systems.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
ABS (2016a) Australian national accounts, input-output tables (product details), 2013–2014. ABS catalogue no. 5215.0.55.001. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
ABS (2016b) Australian national accounts: input-output tables, 2013–2014. catalogue no. 5209.0. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
AgriFutures (2017) Eggs (chicken), 25.4. http://www.agrifutures.com.au/farm-diversity/eggs-chicken/
Australian Wheat Board (2018) https://www.awb.com.au
Backyard Chicken Coops (2018) What is grit and why is it important? https://www.backyardchickencoops.com.au/what-is-grit-and-why-is-it-important
BREE (2013) Australian energy statistics. Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics, Canberra
Citifarm (2018) https://www.citifarm.com.au/a/Chickens/Feeding-Tips-for-Chickens
Department of Primary Industry (2018) Buying feed at th right price. https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-and-livestock/nutrition/costs-and-nutritive-value/price
Deže J, Ranogajec L, Crnčan A, Kristić J (2010) Break-even analysis (BEA) in egg production. POLJOPRIVREDA 16(2):47–50
Doorstop Organics (2018) https://www.doorsteporganics.com.au/grown-organically
Foodwise (2018) Fast facts on food waste. http://www.foodwise.com.au/foodwaste/food-waste-fast-facts/
Grinde B et al (2017) The quality of life in intentional communities, Social Indictors Research
Hammond G, Jones C (2011) Inventory of carbon and energy, version 2. Sustainable Energy Research Team, University of Bath, Bath
Lockyer J (2017) Community, commons, and de-growth at dancing rabbit ecovillage. Political Ecol 24:519–542
Pelletier N (2017) Lifecycle assessment of Canadian egg products, with differentiation by housing system type. J Clean Prod 152:167–180
Pelletier N, Ibarburu M, Xin H (2013) A carbon footprint analysis of egg production and processing supply chains in the Midwestern United States. J Clean Prod 54:108–114
Poultry Hub (2018) Chicken (egg) layer industry. http://www.poultryhub.org/production/industry-structure-and-organisations/egg-industry/
Safeedpari P, Rafiee S, Akram A (2013) Fossil-based fuels and electricity energy inputs effect on egg production in poultry farms of Iran. J Livest Sci 4:1–61
St-Onge E (2015) Senegal transforming 14,000 villages into eco-villages!, Collective Evolution, June 17. https://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/06/17/senegal-transforming-14000-villages-into-ecovillages/
Trainer T (2019) Remaking settlements for sustainability; the simpler way. J Political Ecol 26:1
TSW (2017) The simpler way. thesimplerway.info/TSWMain.htm
van Asselt ED, van Bussel LGJ, van Horne P, van der Voet H, van der Heijden GWAM, van der Fels-Klerx HJ (2015) Assessing the sustainability of egg production systems in the Netherlands. Poult Sci 94(8):1742–1750. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps/pev165
Woolworths Catalogue (2018) https://www.woolworths.com.au/Shop/Browse/dairy-eggs-fridge/eggs-butter-margarine/eggs
World Wildlife Fund (2016) The living planet report. World Wildlife Fund and London Zoological Society, London
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
No human or animal ethical issues are raised by this study.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Trainer, T., Malik, A. & Lenzen, M. A Comparison Between the Monetary, Resource and Energy Costs of the Conventional Industrial Supply Path and the “Simpler Way” Path for the Supply of Eggs. Biophys Econ Resour Qual 4, 9 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41247-019-0057-8
- Production costs
- Alternative economics
- Local economies