International Industrial Ecology Day 2021

Detecting carbon-intensive material footprints including fixed-capital effects

Production and services in modern society are supported by capital, such as production facilities, infrastructure, and durable consumer goods, in which large amounts of resources are invested. Understanding the emission structure of environmental impacts associated with not only energy use but also material consumption is a prerequisite for achieving climate change targets. We developed an additive decomposition method to separate the supply-chain effects associated with investment in, and use of, fixed capital from the supply chain effects of industrial activity. Applying the model to Japan, we calculated the capital embodied material footprint (CEMF) of each supply chain and identified the supply chains with carbon-intensive resource consumption. The results show that the CEMF contains 16% to 90% of hidden effect from the conventional material footprint, excluded from the conventional material footprint, and the capital effect is also included in the industrial supply chain. Among household consumption expenditure, demand for energy, leisure, and food induces carbon-intensive resource consumption, which is about twice as emission-intensive as low-intensive demand such as housing in both capital and industrial supply chain. Industrial supply chain has the potential to reduce emissions in a short period by changing the way products and services are manufactured and provided, and by changing consumer lifestyles. However, resource consumption and carbon emissions via fixed capital will be hold for the long period that the capital continues to be used. We need to make the transition to a society that can build supply chains with low emission intensity as soon as possible.


Name Affiliation
Sho Hata National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES)
Keisuke Nansai National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES)
Kenichi Nakajima national institute for environmental studies

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