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Household expenditure on consumption categories with differing environmental pressure intensities (SCP 013) - Assessment published Apr 2013

Indicator Assessmentexpired Created 26 Mar 2012 Published 05 Apr 2013 Last modified 02 Mar 2015, 06:11 PM
This content has been archived on 02 Mar 2015, reason: Other (New version data-and-maps/indicators/trends-in-share-of-expenditure-1/assessment was published)
 
Contents
 

Indicator definition

This indicator shows trends in total household consumption expenditure of Europeans as characterised by the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP). 

COICOP is a nomenclature developed by the United Nations Statistics Division and subsequently adopted by Eurostat to classify and analyse individual consumption expenditures incurred by households, non-profit institutions serving households and general government according to their purpose. Trends at the single digit disaggregation level demonstrate how patterns of consumption across 12 expenditure categories in Europe are changing (Figure 1). The indicator also illustrates trends in absolute spending on each of the 12 categories between 1995 and 2010 (Figure 2). Expenditure trends are given in fixed prices.

Figures 3-6 show environmental pressures per Euro of spending for each of the 12 household consumption categories for 4 environmental pressure categories. This enables expenditure trends in the first two figures to be interpreted with respect to potential changes in environmental pressures caused by household consumption.

(http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Glossary:Classification_of_individual_consumption_by_purpose_(COICOP))

Units

This indicator is expressed as: (1) the share (%) of total expenditure on each COICOP category, indexed to 1995 (Figure 1); (2) developments in absolute expenditure in household consumption (COICOP) categories per capita (Figure 2); and (3) the unit pressure (kg CO2-equiv., g SO2-equiv., g NMVOC-equiv. and kg material use) per Euro of spending of household consumption categories (Figures 3-6).


Key policy question: Are Europeans switching consumption patterns to less intensive types of goods and services?

Key messages

Trends in household spending patterns from 1995 to 2010 are mixed but have shown some tendency towards an increasing share of consumption categories with lower environmental pressure intensities. Almost all consumption categories have also seen reductions in environmental pressure intensities. Together these two developments are likely to have had the effect of relatively decoupling environmental pressures from growth in  household consumption expenditure.

Trends in share of expenditure on household consumption (COICOP) categories, EEA countries (excluding Lichtenstein and Turkey)

Note: Percentage distribution of household expenditure volumes across 12 COICOP categories for the years 1995 and 2010

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Greenhouse gas emissions induced by household consumption, per Euro spent of expenditure in 12 household consumption categories, 2000-2007

Note: Trends in greenhouse gas emissions induced by household consumption, per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption (COICOP) categories, shown for 3 years 2000, 2004 and 2007. Emissions are based on the footprint perspective and include both emissions directly emitted by households (for example by burning fuels for heating) and emissions associated with the production of goods and services purchased by households.

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Acidifying emissions induced by household consumption, per Euro spent of expenditure in 12 household consumption categories, 2000-2007

Note: Trends in acidifying emissions induced by household consumption, per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption (COICOP) categories, shown for 3 years 2000, 2004 and 2007. Emissions are based on the footprint perspective and include both emissions directly emitted by households (for example by burning fuels for heating) and emissions associated with the production of goods and services purchased by households.

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Tropospheric ozone precursor emissions induced by household consumption, per Euro spent of expenditure in 12 household consumption categories, 2000-2007

Note: Trends in emissions of tropospheric ozone precursors induced by household consumption, per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption (COICOP) categories, shown for 3 years 2000, 2004 and 2007. Emissions are based on the footprint perspective and include both emissions directly emitted by households (for example by burning fuels for heating) and emissions associated with the production of goods and services purchased by households.

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Direct material input induced by household consumption, per Euro spent of expenditure in 12 household consumption categories, 2000-2007

Note: Trends in Direct material input (DMI) induced by household consumption, per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption (COICOP) categories, shown for 3 years 2000, 2004 and 2007. Emissions are based on the footprint perspective and include both emissions directly emitted by households (for example by burning fuels for heating) and emissions associated with the production of goods and services purchased by households.

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Key assessment

Over the period assessed, two main relative decoupling effects can be identified from changes in household consumption expenditure categories. Firstly, a shift in consumption expenditure from categories with high environmental pressure intensities (pressures per Euro spent) to ones with lower intensities due to changes in consumption patterns. Secondly, a reduction in the environmental pressure intensities of individual consumption categories. While the policy question is mostly concerned with changes in consumption patterns, the indicator can also be used to illustrate the second effect.

Trends in consumption expenditure reveal a shift in consumption expenditure patterns to less intensive types of goods and services. The two most rapidly growing consumption categories (Figure 2), ‘communications’ and ‘recreation and culture’, which have increased their combined share of expenditure from 9% to 13%, are also two of the categories with lowest environmental pressure intensities (Figures 3-6).

Two further low-intensity categories, ‘health’ and ‘miscellaneous goods and services’ have also increased their share from 3% to 4% and 10% to12% of expenditure respectively. Moreover, spending on ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’ which is one of the most pressure-intensive categories has stayed stable despite economic growth (Figure 2) and its share has reduced from 15% to 12% of total spending (Figure 1).

On the other hand expenditure on two other categories with higher than average intensities - transport and housing - has grown along with income. Their share of expenditure has remained relatively stable at 22% and 13-14% respectively between 1995 and 2010.

With the exception of ‘alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics’ which has seen a very slight reduction, expenditure on all categories has remained stable or have increased between 1995 and 2010. Therefore, these overall changes in spending patterns are likely to only have had a relative not absolute decoupling effect on environmental impacts caused by consumption as pressures caused by consumption will have grown but less rapidly than overall consumption expenditure.

Figures 3-6 demonstrate that, almost without exception, all 12 consumption categories have seen reductions in environmental pressure intensities between 2000 and 2007. However, it should be noted that this could have been caused by improvements in the production processes of individual goods and services within each consumption category, but also by shifts in the products being purchased within each consumption category. For, example, a shift from use of private cars to trains will show up as a reduction in pressure intensity in the Transport COICOP category in Figures 3-6. 

Data sources

Policy context and targets

Context description

The international policy framework for SCP was recently agreed at Rio+20 with the adoption of the ten year framework for action on sustainable consumption and production. The declaration ‘The future we want’ recognised the need to change unsustainable and promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

The potential for reducing impacts from consumption through the development of alternative lower impact products is widely recognised. For example the Final Report for the Assessment of the 6EAP calls for ‘better resource efficiency per unit of products produced’. However, the potential to reduce environmental impacts caused by consumption through shifting expenditure from consumption categories with high environmental pressure intensities (pressures per Euro of spending) to less pressure intensive consumption categories has been much less recognised until very recently.

The Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe in its theme area on Sustainable Consumption and Production recognises that ‘changing consumption patterns of private and public purchasers will help drive resource efficiency’. The Roadmap also includes the milestone that 'By 2020, citizens and public authorities have the right incentives to choose the most resource efficient products and services, through appropriate price signals and clear environmental information… Consumer demand is high for more sustainable products and services.’

Targets

No quantitative targets have been identified.

Related policy documents

  • COM(2011) 531 final - 6EAP FINAL ASSESSMENT
    The Sixth Community Environment Action Programme FINAL ASSESSMENT
  • Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe
    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.  COM(2011) 571  
  • The Future We Want –Declaration of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio (2012)
    The Future We Want is the declaration on sustainable development and a green economy adopted at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio on June 19, 2012. The Declaration includes broad sustainability objectives within themes of Poverty Eradication, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, Energy, Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Cities, Health and Population and Promoting Full and Productive Employment. It calls for the negotiation and adoption of internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals by end 2014. It also calls for a UN resolution strengthening and consolidating UNEP both financially and institutionally so that it can better disseminate environmental information and provide capacity building for countries.

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Figure 1: The final volumes of expenditures in 1990 and 2010 were calculated by adding the total expenditure on each COICOP category in the EU-27 to the equivalent total expenditures in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. These were then converted into percentages.

Figure 2: The total expenditures in each COICOP category were obtained as described above. The index was calculated by dividing the value of the expenditure volumes for each year (1995-2010) by the expenditure value for year 1995 and multiplying by 100.   

Figures 3-6: The data were obtained from the EEA and ETC/SCP's NAMEA project.  Environmentally Extended Input-Output Analysis (EE-IOA) was carried out using Eurostat Input-Output tables and air emissions accounts for the EU-27. Pressures associated with 60 NACE product categories were allocated to COICOP categories using a transformation matrix. Direct emissions from households were also allocated using a simple transformation of emissions from mobile sources to ‘07 Transport and emissions from stationary sources’ to ‘04 Housing’.

Methodology for gap filling

No gap filling was necessary for producing this indicator.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified.

Data sets uncertainty

For information on data source uncertainty for the Eurostat consumption expenditure data the metadata file can be found here:

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_SDDS/EN/nama_esms.htm

However, the uncertainty elements of the meta-data file had not been completed at the time of last update of this EEA indicator.

The methodology and key assumptions used in the Environmental Extended Input Output calculations are described in detail in a forthcoming EEA Technical Report. Uncertainties result from a number of assumptions/characteristics of the methodology and underlying data including; coarse aggregation of all industries and products into 59 industry/product groups; allocation of environmental pressures to a product group according to monetary rather than physical flows; and basic one-to-one mapping of 59 (2-digit) product groups to 12 COICOP (2-digit) COICOP categories when allocating environmental pressures to COICOP groups.

Rationale uncertainty

Pressure intensities of household consumption categories have only been calculated for four types of environmental pressure. Including other environmental pressures and resources might identify different household consumption categories as having relatively high pressure intensities, and therefore lead to different conclusions on whether trends in consumption expenditure are moving in a favourable or unfavourable direction.

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Generic metadata

Topics:

Household consumption Household consumption (Primary topic)

Tags:
household consumption
DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • SCP 013
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1995-2010
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Almut Reichel

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2012 2.5.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 2 years
Filed under:

Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100