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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Household expenditure on consumption categories with differing environmental pressure intensities / Household expenditure on consumption categories with differing environmental pressure intensities (SCP 013) - Assessment published Apr 2013

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

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
 
Contents
 

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

Data source:
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Direct and indirect greenhouse gases (GHG) induced per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption categories, 2000-2007

Note: Trends in direct and indirect greenhouse gases (GHG) induced per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption (COICOP) categories, shown for 3 years 2000, 2004 and 2007

Data source:
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Direct and indirect acidifying emissions induced per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption categories, 2000-2007

Note: Trends in direct and indirect acidifying emissions induced per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption (COICOP) categories, shown for 3 years 2000, 2004 and 2007

Data source:
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Direct and indirect emissions of tropospheric ozone precursors induced per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption categories, 2000-2007

Note: Trends in direct and indirect tropospheric ozone precursor emissions induced per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption (COICOP) categories, shown for 3 years 2000, 2004 and 2007

Data source:
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Direct material input induced per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption categories, 2000-2007

Note: Trends in DMI induced per Euro of expenditure in 12 household consumption (COICOP) categories, shown for 3 years 2000, 2004 and 2007

Data source:
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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

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

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 in October-December (Q4)
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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100