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MATERIAL AND CARBON FOOTPRINT OF HOUSEHOLD ACTIVITIES

Jens Teubler 1, Kathrin Greiff 2, Carolin Beadeker 3, Christa Liedtke 4, Paul Suski 5, Monika
Wirges 6

ABSTRACT
Households play a major role in the global consumption of natural resources (Lettenmeier et
al. 2014; Lettenmeier et al. 2012). As they differ in their individual lifestyles and their pressure
on the environment, they also differ in regard to their individual potential contribution
towards sustainable consumption and production patterns (Groezinger et al. 2013). Promoting
these patterns in households requires a deeper understanding of what different household
types practise every day (Hasselku 2013; Liedtke et al. 2015). This paper shows first results on
the resource consumption and GHG emissions associated with household activities and
household types in Germany. 16 households in the area of Bottrop were asked to provide
extensive data on their activities concerning mobility, housing, nutrition, waste, goods and
appliances, tourism and recreation. Due to the sociodemographic data given, the participants
were assigned to one out of ten different household types. The Material and Carbon Footprint
were calculated to evaluate the environmental pressure caused by these households. The
results show that households differ highly in their impacts, especially in the fields of nutrition,
housing and mobility. While, due to the small sample, no significant correlation between
household types and resource consumption could be found, there is a tendency for higher
resource consumption in empty nester households in comparison to young families in the
mainstream. Further steps of the study then included a road mapping process. Two workshops
with the households led to the identification of potential short-, mid- and long term strategies
for resource consumption reduction. This process revealed a high affinity of the participants
towards lifestyle changes. However, it became clear that many external factors prevent
households from adapting their behaviour. Therefore it can be concluded that further research
should also take into account the individual circumstances of social practises.
Keywords: Material Footprint, Carbon Footprint, Households, Social Practises, Life Cycle
Assessment

Jens Teubler, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Wuppertal Institute, Doeppersberg 19, D-42103
Wuppertal, jens.teubler@wupperinst.org
2
Kathrin Greiff, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Wuppertal Institute, Doeppersberg 19, D-42103
Wuppertal, kathrin.greiff@wupperinst.org
3
Carolin Beadeker, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Wuppertal Institute, Doeppersberg 19, D-42103
Wuppertal, carolin.beadeker@wupperinst.org
4
Christa Liedtke, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Wuppertal Institute, Doeppersberg 19, D-42103
Wuppertal, christa.liedtke@wupperinst.org
5
Paul Suski, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Wuppertal Institute, Doeppersberg 19, D-42103 Wuppertal,
paul.suski@wupperinst.org
6
Monika Wirges, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Wuppertal Institute, Doeppersberg 19, D-42103
Wuppertal, monika.wirges@wupperinst.org

Sustainable Development Symposium | 6th annual European postgraduate symposium | 1