Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Sustainable consumption – Making consumption environmentally and socially compatible

Indicator 12.1.b: Global environmental impact by private household consumption

a) Use of raw materials Weathersymbol

(Evaluation of the year 2016 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)

b) Energy consumption Weathersymbol

(Evaluation of the year 2016 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)

c) CO2 emissions Weathersymbol

(Evaluation of the year 2016 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)

Selection

Select here what should be displayed in the chart and in the table.

This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The impact caused to the environment around the world by private household consumption is shown here by three indicators. They are domestic and foreign energy consumption, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the use of raw materials in connection with the production and use of all goods destined for the consumption of private households in Germany.

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

Through their spending habits, private households are responsible for a significant proportion of an economy’s consumption of resources. That consumption occurs not only within the country in question but also indirectly includes the consumption which is involved in the production of imported goods. The indicator therefore provides information about the impact being done to the environment on a global scale as a result of private household consumption. Reducing energy consumption, for example, will conserve resources both domestically and abroad and prevent environmentally harmful carbon dioxide emissions. The intention of the German Government is to continuously cut the environmental impact that occurs in connection with private household consumption in all three areas.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

Last modification of code (data) 2021-02-05: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window
Last modification of code (text) 2021-09-10: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

The spending habits of private households affect the environment in various ways. This indicator reflects three of the factors behind this impact, namely energy, CO2 emissions and the use of raw materials. The relevant data are collected in the environmental economic accounts of a range of governmental and non-governmental sources.

Resources may be consumed by households directly or indirectly. Direct consumption might be the use of gas for heating, fuel for transport or food to eat. Resources are also tied up or consumed at every stage of the process of manufacturing and transporting consumer goods both within Germany and abroad. All of that counts as indirect consumption by German private households when they buy and use those goods. Both types of consumption are included in the present indicator, the environmental impact represented in terms of energy, raw materials and CO2.

The use of raw materials, energy consumption and CO2 emissions are closely interconnected. To use coal, oil and gas – material resources – in power plants and boilers to produce electricity and heat is simultaneously to consume energy. As a rule, the burning of fuels also results in the emission of CO2.

However, the use of raw materials is not restricted to fuels. This is clear from the time series in the graph: while the data for energy consumption and emissions follow a fluctuating but generally downwards trend, the change in the use of raw materials is less marked. That factor is made up both of abiotic resources, which include other mineral resources like sand and salts as well as fuels, and of renewable resources like the products of farming and forestry. While the use of abiotic resources is steadily shrinking, there are greater fluctuations in the area of agricultural products. This resulted in a slight overall reduction of 3% between 2010 and 2016.

In contrast, energy consumption went down by 6% during the same period. Energy loss incurred during the generation of electricity and district heat for consumption by private households is counted as indirect consumption. Energy consumption can be split according to the different fields in which it occurs, namely home life, transport, food, other products and services. At around 3,402 petajoules in total, home life accounted for the largest proportion, 36% of private household consumption, in 2016.

A similar trend can be seen in CO2 emissions. The vast majority of emissions are generated indirectly, during the manufacturing process of consumer goods in Germany and abroad, rather than during the actual consumption of the goods. The total CO2 emissions caused by private household consumption in 2016 amounted to 667 million tonnes. The ratio of direct to indirect emissions was around 1:2. Between 2010 and 2016, direct CO2 emissions fell by 6%, while the emissions footprint of consumer goods fell by 1%. The last five years, on the other hand, show no reduction but a slight increase in emissions.

This indicator can be usefully cross-referenced with indicator 8.1 on raw material input productivity.

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)

Time series 1

Indicator

12.1.ba Global environmental impact by private household consumption – use of raw materials

Target

Steady reduction

Year

2015

2016

Evaluation Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich

Time series 2

Indicator

12.1.bb Global environmental impact by private household consumption – energy consumption

Target

Steady reduction

Year

2015

2016

Evaluation Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich

Time series 3

Indicator

12.1.bc Global environmental impact by private household consumption – CO2 emissions

Target of indicator

Steady reduction

YearD

2015

2016

Status year D Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich

 Federal Statistical Office

Organisation

Federal Statistical Office