Towards sustainable consumption - do green households have smaller ecological footprints?

International Journal of Sustainable Development

The need for households in rich countries to develop more sustainable consumption patterns is high on the political agenda. An increased awareness of environmental issues among the general public is often presented as an important prerequisite for this change.

This article describes how the study team compared the ecological footprints of ''green'' and ''ordinary'' households. These footprint calculations are based on a number of consumption categories that have severe environmental consequences, such as energy and material use in the home, and transport. The comparison is based on a survey of 404 households in the city of Stavanger, where 66 respondents were members of the Environmental Home Guard in Norway. The analysis suggests that, even if the green households have a smaller ecological footprint per household member, this is not caused by their participation in the Home Guard. It merely reflects the fact that green households are larger than ordinary households.