Consumption-based greenhouse gas household emissions profiles for London boroughs

For the first time consumption-based emissions accounting has been developed at the borough level, providing an overview of trends in the period 2001 – 2018.

Download the Consumption-Based Greenhouse Gas Household Emissions Profiles for London Boroughs report

Borough data

Barking and Dagenham to Havering - Zip file

Hillingdon to Westminster - Zip file

Results

The results show that boroughs have significantly reduced their emissions during this period, and the difference in emissions between the highest and lowest emitting borough has also declined. However, the pace of reduction is slower than what is needed to reach the two-thirds reduction target of the One World Living – Reducing Consumption-based Emissions programme lead by London Borough of Harrow on behalf of London Councils. Further work will be needed to develop a more granular understanding of lifestyles in London that can support effective interventions and policy recommendations.

Following the London Councils’ Joint Statement on Climate Change, published in December 2019, seven climate change programmes have been established. One of the programmes, One World Living, aims to reduce consumption-based emissions by two-thirds by 2030, focusing on food, electronics, textiles, and aviation. The inclusion of plastics into the programme is now also being considered. Two other major components of consumption, transport and buildings, are considered under separate programmes.

In February 2020, the GLA published an assessment of consumption-based emissions for the Greater London area, undertaken by University of Leeds. Building on this, London Councils and ReLondon have commissioned the same university to conduct an analysis of consumption-based emissions at the borough-level in the period 2001 – 2018, in order to understand the different challenges faced by boroughs as they look to reduce consumption-based emissions. This data will further inform the development of the One World Living programme.

What are consumption-based emissions

Consumption emissions differ from the typical method of measuring emissions. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are usually measured as territorial emissions, which are the emissions from activities within a given territory. They exclude emissions from international shipping.and aviation, and any emissions embedded within the supply chain of imported goods and service.

The omission of international shipping and aviation and imports means that the carbon impacts of many activities undertaken by Londoners are not captured by the standard GHG emissions. Consumption-based emissions accounting fills this gap by including net imports, thereby measuring the total environmental impact of our lifestyles on the world.

Sustainable consumption and production

As a leading global city, London has a responsibility to not only consider the impact of the emissions being directly emitted from the city, but also to consider the environmental impacts of the goods and services that it consumes which are produced outside of the city. By measuring consumption-based emissions, London can help its residents understand their wider impact and create demand for green goods and services, thereby helping to encourage sustainable consumption and production across the globe.