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The Influence of Consumer Behavior on Climate Change: The Case of Switzerland

Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Technology and Society Laboratory, Lerchenfeldstrasse 5, CH-9014 St. Gallen, Switzerland
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Academic Editor: Ralph Hansmann
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2966; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052966
Received: 26 January 2021 / Revised: 1 March 2021 / Accepted: 3 March 2021 / Published: 9 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Behaviour and Collective Decision Making)
Reducing material flows and their associated environmental impacts substantially contributes to moving toward a more sustainable society. Both individual consumption behavior and governmental regulations play a crucial role in reaching sustainability goals. In this article, we present a Material Flow Analysis combined with a simplified Life Cycle Assessment of the Swiss economy. Results were linked to an analysis of consumption patterns. This allowed us to evaluate the direct influence of consumer behavior on national greenhouse gas emissions using a consumption-based approach and the quantification of the range of these emissions from different lifestyles. We conclude that the consumer has a direct influence on slightly more than 50% of the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the Domestic Material Consumption. If everybody were to behave like the 20% of the population with the most climate-friendly behavior, emissions would decrease by merely 16%. Cooperation between stakeholders at all levels of society is therefore needed. This study provides a contribution to decreasing material and energy consumption and defining possible future pathways with the final aim to bring anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions down to zero in Switzerland. View Full-Text
Keywords: Material Flow Analysis; Life Cycle Assessment; climate change; Domestic Material Consumption; sustainable development; consumer behavior Material Flow Analysis; Life Cycle Assessment; climate change; Domestic Material Consumption; sustainable development; consumer behavior
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MDPI and ACS Style

Matasci, C.; Gauch, M.; Böni, H.; Wäger, P. The Influence of Consumer Behavior on Climate Change: The Case of Switzerland. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2966. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052966

AMA Style

Matasci C, Gauch M, Böni H, Wäger P. The Influence of Consumer Behavior on Climate Change: The Case of Switzerland. Sustainability. 2021; 13(5):2966. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052966

Chicago/Turabian Style

Matasci, Cecilia, Marcel Gauch, Heinz Böni, and Patrick Wäger. 2021. "The Influence of Consumer Behavior on Climate Change: The Case of Switzerland" Sustainability 13, no. 5: 2966. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052966

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