Ambience Environmental impact: new EU monitoring system

Environmental impact: new EU monitoring system

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New EU monitoring system for environmental impact.

What are the environmental impact of production and consumption of goods in EU?

And how does the lifestyle of citizens affect the environment?


Choosing a precise measurement method and understanding what to measure is the only way to reach conclusions as accurate and reliable as possible.

Until now, the consequences of the production of goods had been measured and analyzed in individual European countries.

This mechanism has, however, a leak: it does not calculate the consumption generated globally, outside the country taken into consideration.

In order to measure the production and consumption impact with scientific approach, the European Union has developed two new indicators: Domestic Footprint (related to production) and Consumption Footprint (related to consumption).


The Domestic Footprint quantifies environmental impact related to production.

These are credited to those produces goods and the field of analysis of used resources is limited to territory of European Union.

The Consumption Footprint  quantifies, instead, environmental impact related to consumption of goods. In this case, therefore, the quantity inside the individual country is not the only thing that is taken into account, but also the imports and exports.

The system for calculating both indicators considers 16 categories of environmental impact: climate change, ozone depletion, human toxicity (cancerous and non-cancerous), particle, ionizing radiation, photochemical pollution, acidification, eutrophication of water, eco-toxicity of fresh water, land use, water use, utilization of fossil resources, utilization of mineral resources and metals.

All these impacts are harmful to biodiversity, to climate change and also to human health.

The Consumption Footprint focuses also on 5 consumption areas: food sector, housing, transport, consumer goods (paper, home products, furniture, clothing, household appliances), for a total of 164 representative products.

The indicators are calculated by adding environmental impact of products in every consumption area multiplied by their energy-intensive.


For the moment the indicators tell us that Domestic Footprint of European Union fell by 12% on average from 2010-2018.

On the contrary, Consumption Footprint has increased by 4% from 2010-2021.

Food consumption is the main source of impact in every nation of European Union.

In general, nations with the highest GDP are those with greater impact per capita.

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