We need to travel more by train and eat more plant-based food to reduce our emissions. Photo: David Bartus, Pexels.

You can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from your private consumption by almost 40% relatively easy. How? Well, by changing what food, furniture and holidays you purchase.
– There is momentum for transformation right now, says sustainability researcher Annika Carlsson-Kanyama.

Today, private consumption accounts for seven tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per person per year while the long-term goal is one ton. Hope can be found in the new report “Shifting expenditure on food, holidays, and furnishings could lower greenhouse gas emissions by almost 40%”. Sustainability researcher Annika Carlsson-Kanyama writes that you can reduce your personal emissions from consumption by as much as 40%, starting today, without having to wait for further technological development or political decisions.

All other consumption may remain unchanged.
But how will this happen? In short, it’s about switching to plant-based products, buying recycled and repaired furniture, or renting them, and finally avoiding flying and taking the car when going on holidays. All our consumption may otherwise remain unchanged. In the matter of plant-based food the researchers also counted on a switch to locally grown vegetables.

Additionally, they write that a more plant-based diet reduces the intake of saturated fat and reduces the risk of diseases being spread from animals to humans. “Something that weighs into why people might actually make this transition” says Annika Carlsson-Kanyama. “I think it’s a combination of concerns about health and climate that will cause people to actually make a change in behaviour” she says.

Is worry a driving force?
– Yes, then the transition will be easier as more and more alternatives to conventional shopping become available in these three areas. Once we reach a tipping point and it becomes mainstream, more people will follow suit.

This article is partially based on a previous report where Annika Carlsson-Kanyama has mapped out the emissions from our 218 most common consumption habits.

You can read the new article ”Shifting expenditure on food, holidays, and furnishings could lower greenhouse gas emissions by almost 40%” here.

Contact details:
Annika Carlsson-Kanyama
Sustainability researcher for Mistra Sustainable Consumption, retired from KTH
+46 (0)720-212217