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Resources 2014, 3(3), 488-515; doi:10.3390/resources3030488
Article

Eight Tons of Material Footprint—Suggestion for a Resource Cap for Household Consumption in Finland

1,2,6,* , 1,3
 and
1,4,5
1 Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Döppersberg 19, Wuppertal 42103, Germany 2 Ltd., Purokatu 34, Lahti 15200, Finland 3 Folkwang University of the Arts, Industrial Design, Klemensborn 39, Essen 45239, Germany 4 Faktor 10—Institut für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften gemeinnützige GmbH, Alte Bahnhofstraße 13, Friedberg 61169, Germany 5 Institute of Refrigerating and Biotechnology Lomonosov, ITMO University, Ulitsa 9, St. Petersburg 191002, Russia 6 Department of Design, Aalto University, Hämeentie 135 C, Helsinki 00760, Finland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 August 2013 / Revised: 3 February 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
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Abstract

The paper suggests a sustainable material footprint of eight tons, per person, in a year as a resource cap target for household consumption in Finland. This means an 80% (factor 5) reduction from the present Finnish average. The material footprint is used as a synonym to the Total Material Requirement (TMR) calculated for products and activities. The paper suggests how to allocate the sustainable material footprint to different consumption components on the basis of earlier household studies, as well as other studies, on the material intensity of products, services, and infrastructures. It analyzes requirements, opportunities, and challenges for future developments in technology and lifestyle, also taking into account that future lifestyles are supposed to show a high degree of diversity. The targets and approaches are discussed for the consumption components of nutrition, housing, household goods, mobility, leisure activities, and other purposes. The paper states that a sustainable level of natural resource use by households is achievable and it can be roughly allocated to different consumption components in order to illustrate the need for a change in lifestyles. While the absolute material footprint of all the consumption components will have to decrease, the relative share of nutrition, the most basic human need, in the total material footprint is expected to rise, whereas much smaller shares than at present are proposed for housing and especially mobility. For reducing material resource use to the sustainable level suggested, both social innovations, and technological developments are required.
Keywords: consumption; lifestyle; household; natural resources; resource cap; sustainability; transition; material footprint; MIPS; ecological backpack consumption; lifestyle; household; natural resources; resource cap; sustainability; transition; material footprint; MIPS; ecological backpack
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Lettenmeier, M.; Liedtke, C.; Rohn, H. Eight Tons of Material Footprint—Suggestion for a Resource Cap for Household Consumption in Finland. Resources 2014, 3, 488-515.

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