You are on page 1of 2

Case study: North East Regional Information Partnership

Understanding the environmental impact of economic growth and consumer spending

This study has provided the North East Regional Information Partnership (NERIP) with detailed projections of changes in the distribution and consumption of different groups in the North East, linked to greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions. Experian’s unique, quantitative approach provides the basis for policy that helps economic growth while respecting environmental targets.
Challenge There is much debate on the impact of consumption on the environment, in particular how economic growth directly relates to consumption. NERIP, which provides a range of data to decision makers in the North East of England, sought to develop a quantitative understanding of probable changes in consumption patterns, along with the environmental impacts that are likely to arise as economic performance in the region improves. Understanding the connection between economic growth, consumption and environmental impacts is crucial to promoting sustainable economic growth. Solution In order to answer the question ‘if the region was successful in meeting its economic objectives what environmental impacts would this have?’, Experian partnered with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), developing an approach which estimated greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions for 61 national-level Mosaic household segments1. Our solution set out three economic scenarios, quantifying the relationship between economic growth, population change, changes in consumption and the resulting environmental impacts. Use of Mosaic enabled NERIP to evaluate the environmental impact of different household groups and will enable regional institutions to formulate targeted policy that focuses on those household types which are most likely to have the greatest negative environmental impact as the regional economy grows.

“The Experian/SEI team delivered a unique and innovative study that will help target efforts to reduce carbon emissions across the North East. The combination of the necessary expertise and a good and professional relationship resulted in a piece of research that is as good as the best.”
David Mell Modelling Manager NERIP

Cardinal Place 80 Victoria Street London SW1E 5JL T 44 (0) 203 042 4000 F 44 (0) 207 746 8277

Embankment House Electric Avenue Nottingham NG80 1EH T 44 (0) 115 941 0888 F 44 (0) 115 968 5003

160 Dundee Street Edinburgh EH11 1DQ T 44 (0) 131 228 8030 F 44 (0) 131 228 8040


Pounds spent per hh (£000s)

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0
of Su cc B :H es s ap py C :S Fa m ub ili ur es ba n D C :T om ie s fo of rt C om E: m U un rb ity an In te F: lli W ge el nc fa G re e :M B or un de ic rli ip ne al H D :B ep lu en e de C nc ol I: la y Tw rE ig nt hl er ig pr ht is e Su bs J: is G te re nc y e Pe rs pe ct K iv :R es ur al Is ol at io n

Transport Food & non-aloholic drinks Household goods & services Alocholic drink & tobacco

Recreation & culture Restaurants & hotels Communication Education and Health

Housing, fuel & pow er miscellaneous goods & services Clothing & footw ear

Implementation The project was anchored in economic growth projections for the North East over a twenty year period, charting changes in income and the associated transformation of the make-up and expenditure by households. A range of economic scenarios were considered and the subsequent impact on the consumption mix by the Mosaic household types was estimated for the North East and its constituent districts. Using the SEI data and forecasts for the carbon intensity per pound spent on each consumption product, the team was able to calculate the full impact of changed consumption patterns in the region on the environment, brought about by faster economic growth.The research was designed to overcome territorial boundaries and properly accounted for the impact of products that were produced in other countries and regions, but consumed within the North East. At the same time, the analysis excluded the impacts of goods and services produced in the North East but exported outside the region.
1. Mosaic UK is a geo-demographic classification that paints a rich pictur e of UK consumers in terms of sociodemographics, lifestyles and behaviour, and provides a detailed understanding of UK society.

Results At an overall level, the study indicated that whilst the region is likely to see relative decoupling2 between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions associated with consumption, absolute decoupling2 seems highly unlikely without strong policy intervention. The study pointed towards large differences in emissions across households and lifestyles and clearly related these to incomes and expenditure. By bringing economic and environmental information together, regional policy can recognise differences between neighbourhoods, and take into account household types and unique consumption patterns. Experian was able to provide robust underlying economic analysis which is disaggregated by different household types, helping policymakers in the North East to formulate more effective policy that targets specific groups and allowing the ‘worst offenders’ to be targeted first.
2. Relative decoupling means that emissions grow more slowly than the economy. Absolute decoupling means that the economy grows but emissions fall.


:S ym

bo ls

Greenhouse gas emissions per pound spent over time for selected food product groups 1992 - 2026


kg GHG per £ spent






GHG (tonnes per hh)

Transport Food & non-aloholic drinks Household goods & services Alocholic drink & tobacco

Contact us: public.sector@uk.experian .com
© Experian 2010. The word “EXPERIAN” and the graphical device are trade marks of Experian and/or its associated companies and may be registered in the EU, USA and other countries. The graphical device is a registered Community design in the EU. All rights reserved.

Fa m il i ur es ba n D Co Ti m es fo of rt C om E m U un rb an ity In te F lli W ge el nc fa G re e M B un or de ic ip rl le in e H D ep B lu en e de C ol nc la y rE IT nt w er i li pr gh is tS e ub si J st G re en y ce P er sp ec tiv K es R ur al Is ol at io n Su b


uc ce ss




Sy m




ap p



19 92 19 94 19 96 19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06 20 08 20 10 20 12 20 14 20 16 20 18 20 20 20 22 20 24 20 26

45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

Recreation & culture Restaurants & hotels Communication Education and Health

)s tr o pmi( sekac dna s d o o g yr tsa p ;s tiucsi b dna daer B )ci tsem o d( sekac dna s d o o g yr tsa p ;s tiucsi b dna daer B )s tr o pmi( sel ba te gev dna tiurF )ci tsem oD( sel ba te gev dna tiurF )s tr o pmi( s tcu d or p yriaD )ci tsem o d( s tcu d or p yriaD )s tr o pmi( yr tlu o p .lcxe s tcu d or p taem dna tae M )ci tsem o d( yr tlu o p .lcxe s tcu d or p taem dna tae M

Mosaic Group

Housing, fuel & pow er miscellaneous goods & services Clothing & footw ear