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Allocating ecological footprints to final consumption categories with input-output analysis

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Publication details

JournalEcological Economics
DatePublished - 1 Jan 2006
Issue number1
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)28-48
Original languageEnglish


We present and discuss a method that allows the disaggregation of national Ecological Footprints by economic sector, detailed final demand category, sub-national area or socio-economic group. This is done by combining existing National Footprint Accounts with input-output analysis. Calculations in the empirical part are carried out by using supply and use tables for the United Kingdom, covering the reporting period 2000. Ecological Footprints are allocated to detailed household consumption activities following the COICOP classification system and to a detailed breakdown of capital investment. The method presented enables the calculation of comparable Ecological Footprints on all sub-national levels and for different socio-economic groups. The novelty of the approach lies in the use of input-output analysis to re-allocate existing Footprint accounts, in the detail of disaggregation by consumption category and in the expanded use of household expenditure data. This extends the potential for applications of the Ecological Footprint concept and helps to inform scenarios, policies and strategies on sustainable consumption. The method described in this paper can be applied to every country for which a National Footprint Account exists and where appropriate economic and environmental accounts are available. The approach helps to save time in data collection and improves the consistency between Ecological Footprint estimates for a particular human society from different researchers. For these reasons, the suggested methodology includes crucial steps on the way towards a standardisation of Ecological Footprint accounts. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • ecological footprint, input-output analysis, comparability, allocation method, household expenditure, sustainable consumption, INTERNATIONAL-TRADE ACTIVITIES, LAND APPROPRIATION, TIME-SERIES, SUSTAINABILITY, ASSESSMENTS, INVENTORIES, INDICATORS, EMISSIONS, AUSTRIA, IMPACTS

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