TU.1.B || Future Sustainable Lifestyles – Individual Choices

Bossek, David; Görmer, Marcel; Bach, Vanessa; Finkbeiner, Matthias

Besides politics and companies, changes in a human being’s consumption pattern can make a significant contribution to sustainable development, as addressed in SDG 17. To make these changes tangible, the Life-LCA method – which adapts LCA for the analysis of human beings and quantifies their impacts – was developed (Goermer et al. 2020) and is applied in a case study presented here. It analyses the life cycle impacts of the study object “Dirk” from birth to his current life year (49) for the impact categories climate change (GWP), acidification (AP), eutrophication (EP) and smog (POCP) following a detailed bottom-up approach. Dirk emitted 1,140 t CO2-eq., 4.48 t SO2-eq., 1.69 t PO4-eq., and 0.537 t C2H4-eq. emissions over his current life. The results show that transportation dominates all considered impact categories (40% up to 55%). Energy and water consumption is the second dominant contributor to GWP (39%). Food products make with 10% the third biggest share of the GWP, but contribute significantly more to the impact categories AP (34%), EP (42%) and POCP (20%). Based on his life cycle results and associated hotspots, Dirk changed his consumption patterns by the age of 49 and was able to reduce his footprint by 60-65% (GWP: 28 t/a to 10 t/a) in all considered categories compared to the previous year. For example, next to a more vegan-based diet (GWP: -71% in the category food), he completely avoided air travel (GWP: -81% in the category transport). Even after optimization, his dog’s food intake accounts for nearly one-third of Dirk’s food-related GWP. The first Life-LCA case study confirmed the applicability of the Life-LCA method. However, there are still data uncertainties (e.g. data collection from childhood stage) and remaining methodological challenges (e.g. allocation between family members) to be considered in future studies.