Using Life Cycle Approaches To Evaluate Sustainable Consumption Programs: Car-sharing
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Encouraging more sustainable consumption patterns offers an effective means of reducing the environmental impacts of individuals and households. In addition, many Product Service Systems (PSS) offer not only environmental benefits, but also social and economic benefits. In the evaluation of PSSs it is important to capture any indirect consequences of changed consumption patterns. For instance, a PSS that offers economic savings to the individual will inevitably be spent elsewhere. Any environmental assessment of a PSS must include an analysis of the consumers marginal expenditure. This article demonstrates how to apply Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and economic Input-Output Analysis (IOA) to sustainable consumption patterns. Car sharing schemes and transportation choices are used as an illustrative example. It is shown that the way the rebound expenditure is spent makes a large difference to the overall environmental impacts. If the households marginal expenditure is spread uniformly across non-transport items the overall environmental impacts of different transportation choices only has small changes. However, if the marginal expenditure is spent on air travel, then the rebound emissions can negate any environmental savings of a transport choices.