How do we measure consumption in our communities? And how do we know if we’re advancing more sustainable practices? As the field of sustainable consumption is taking shape, some of the metrics and tools we need to measure consumption levels and gauge our effectiveness are also being developed. While this set of tools is not yet complete, there are some very useful models and analytical methodologies available to cities beginning this work.
Below you can find resources for to help you with:
Estimating consumption-related greenhouse gas emissions
Evaluating the social, economic and environmental impacts of shifts in consumption
Estimating the carbon intensity of goods and services both at the household and institutional levels
Creating new measures of economic and ecological health that reflect the principles of sustainable consumption
The STAR Communities Rating System (STAR) was built by and for local government to assess their sustainability, set targets for moving forward, and measure progress along the way. View examples of how STAR metrics align with sustainable consumption areas.
The Consumption Based Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory (CBEI) description in this toolkit provides an overview of CBEIs and links to other useful resources.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Consumption Based Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories page explains the CBEI methodology and shows results for CBEIs performed in Oregon since 2005, among other resources.
Sustainable Consumption and Cities: Approaches to measuring social, economic, and environmental impacts in cities is a USDN Innovation Product that defines sustainable consumption, develops metrics, and assesses the degree to which sustainable consumption activities contribute to triple bottom line goals. Case study evaluations include repair, rental, and reuse programs, a tool library, and car-sharing and ride-sharing programs.
The EPA West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum Climate Action Toolkit offers a comprehensive resource with tools and information for Greenhouse Gas inventories, climate protection actions, climate action planning, metrics, and other resources through the lenses of materials management and sustainable consumption and production.
The EPA West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum’s ToolKit for Climate Friendly Purchasing provides suggestions and resources for institutional purchasing policies that meet climate action objectives in the areas of food, information and communication technology, flooring, urban infrastructure, diesel fuels and professional services.
Measuring Performance towards Sustainable Consumption and Production Types of Indicators and Indicator Sets is a project of the European Center on Sustainable Consumption and Production that evaluates several single-target indicators, indicator sets, and combined indicators.
The Ecological Footprint approach provides a measure of the Earth’s supply of natural resources and humanity’s demand on nature that is relatable and accessible to lay users.
The Genuine Progress Index (GPI) provides a cost-benefit analysis based on social, environmental, and economic assets to appraise and balance them against one another, also know as “full-cost accounting.” The GPI considers changes in income distribution, volunteerism, crime, pollution and resource depletion as factors that affect quality of life and provides useful guidance to users of the GPI tool.
The Sustainability Filter developed for this toolkit provides metrics to evaluate whether a proposed or implemented initiative can contribute or is achieving your community’s sustainability goals.