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Consumer-oriented Life Cycle Assessment of Food, Goods and Services

  • Author(s): Jones, Christopher M
  • Kammen, Daniel M
  • McGrath, Daniel T
  • et al.
Abstract

Life cycle assessment is a powerful framework for economic, social, and environmental cost pricing of consumer goods and services. We have extended the capacity of input-output life cycle assessment to approximate cradle-to-consumer environmental impacts from the manufacturing, transport and trade of >600 categories of consumer products and services. On average, 23 tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases are embodied in the food, goods and services consumed by U.S. households. Particularly promising opportunities exist to provide environmental information directly to consumers for products at the point of sale. At a cost of $10/tCO2, we estimate that incorporating the mitigation cost of carbon would add only about 0.5% to the price of goods and services, and 1% to the price of food. This information can lead to the creation of market-based incentives for more sustainable consumption and production.

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