TRUTHstudio | The Scale of Purchasing in the US
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Systems Mapping, Strategic Analysis, Information Design
About This Project

TRUTHstudio created this visual analysis of the scale of final consumption of goods and services by different sectors of the economy, based on US Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data for 2011. The purpose of the analysis is to understand the relative scale of different sources of economic demand, and to connect those to their supply chain impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, based on econoimc input output life cycle assessment (EIOLCA) data from the OpenIO database hosted by The Sustainability Consortium. The analysis demonstrates the dominant role that household consumption of services plays in the economy and its environmental impacts. Notably, consumer goods–the focus of many sustainable consumption efforts–together are estimated to represent only 20% of total household expenditures and only 20% of total GHG emissions. This suggests that sustainable consumption efforts might arguably be better targeted at non-goods categories of household purchasing, such as electricity, fuel, food, and other key services. Download PDF version here.