By Perttu Lamminen, Elomatic
The environmental impact of consumption should be evaluated over the full life cycles of products. Foodstuff life cycles include the use of fertilizers and other materials in production and throughout the supply chain as well as further processing, sales, consumption, waste removal and recycling. Life cycle analysis (LCA) typically investigates the effect of activities on the climate, eutrophication, acidification, ozone formation and primary energy consumption.
In Finland housing and travelling each account for about a quarter of household carbon footprints. Intermittent emissions are also created by food and have the same climatic effect as housing and travelling. A typical consumer in Finland consumes 600–700 kg of food a year, of which an estimated 10% is wasted.
The guiding principle of all development work should be the elimination of defect sources not consequences. In waste hierarchies the focus should be on reducing waste, i.e. changing consumption patterns and lifestyles.