IMCG blog

Good news on greenhouse emissions - or not?

2015-05-13

Good news: In 20 years, Swedish emissions of greenhouse gases at home have decreased by 22 per cent, according to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Time for self-satisfaction? Not quite. During the same period the Swedes have, according to the report, increased their greenhouse emissions in other countries by 50 per cent. It’s all about what we consume and where it comes from.

– It is really hard for consumers to shop climate friendly. It is easy to grasp that long international flights have an impact, but in the grocery store the same vegetable can have a completely different climate footprint depending on where it came from, how it was cultivated and the time of the year, says IMCG CEO Jonas Norrman.

Official emissions statistics are based on the goods produced in Sweden, including exports, and these emissions have been reduced. But the Environmental Protection Agency has changed the perspective by also reporting on emissions from what Swedes actually consume, including imported goods. Thereby the emissions we cause in other countries become visible, and they have increased.

The GAME Network which IMCG is part of, published a report in 2014 on how consumers in the west of Sweden can be supported to make more sustainable choices. It predicts an increased development of smartphone apps that calculate the climate footprint of a product. They are easy to use for the consumer but based on advanced data regarding factors that contribute to emissions.

– Few people realize that we cause emissions abroad; the problem is not visible and therefore is allowed to grow. Making good choices should be easy and we believe that apps can become great tools in creating positive effects and increased understanding. If more people support alternatives that do not depend on fossil fuels, these will be developed and improved. That means reduced climate impact in the long run, says Jonas Norrman.

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