Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Consumers' lifestyles and pollutant emissions

The research project 'Consumers' Lifestyles and Pollutant Emissions' has provided a deepened comprehension of the behaviour environment links in the fields of energy consumption and airborne emissions. Through the empirical investigation of the different aspects of environmentally relevant behaviour, quantitative and qualitative information on the factors influencing environmental behaviour have been obtained. Thereby not only directly environmentally relevant consumer activities such as car use or heating have been analysed, but also expenditure patterns which induce environmental damage through the production of the consumed goods. The use of household survey data from the national statistical offices offered the possibility to cover this wide range of activities, although even in such comprehensive databases still important phenomena are not observed, in particular details on the owned equipment and the quality of the consumed goods. Since these are however important factors for environmental impact of consumers' behaviour, further research based on supplementary data sources is advisable.

A limitation of the studies undertaken so far is that only three European countries, Germany, the Netherlands and France have been investigated. By an extension to further member states a tool could be provided for a common analysis of environmental policies at the European Union (EU) level. Also the approach could be extended to cover, besides airborne emissions, other environmental effects such as waste and sewage. The consumer perspective taken in this research allows an improved understanding of complex interconnections and the resulting increased transparency should be profitable both for citizens and decision makers. It can be of particular use in the political process, since it provides a possibility for policy making to deal with sustainable development by having a customer orientation.

Reported by

Universität Stuttgart
Hessbrühlstrasse 49A
70565 Stuttgart
Germany
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