Future households: smaller footprint, better life?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientific


Research units

  • University of Helsinki


The paper presents a project on how to achieve future household consumption already today. The project calculated lifestyle material footprint, developed household-specific roadmaps for halving material footprints by 2030, tested relevant measures towards a one-planet material footprint of 8 tonnes per person in a year, and developed mainstreaming options in co-operation between service and infrastructure providers and households. We used the material footprint as an aggregated indicator for the overall use of material resources. Our approach was extended from just measuring household resource use to developing roadmaps, conducting experiments, as well as learning and upscaling, all of which contribute to the 'Transition-Enabling Cycle'. The results of the experiments were encouraging: Households decreased their material footprint already close to the 2030 targets in their roadmaps. They thus showed that it is possible to achieve a significant dematerialisation of consumption by relatively few changes in everyday living even today. However, a part of the services used in the experiments had to be simulated because they were not yet available in the area where the project took place. Thus, achieving a one-planet level of resource use also requires systemic changes. While changing their lifestyles in the experimental phase of the project, several households noticed that their quality of life even increased. As a conclusion, we state that relevant and positive changes in household behaviour and activities can be achieved even soon. Thus there is no need for wait-ing until systemic changes have happened but households can make powerful improvements immediately, thus encouraging other actors to offer more sustainable solutions on the market.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBoosting Resource Productivity
Subtitle of host publicationby Adopting the Circular Economy
EditorsChristian Ludwig, Cecilia Matasci
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
EventWorld Resources Forum: Accelerating the Resource Revolution - Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 24 Oct 201725 Oct 2017


ConferenceWorld Resources Forum
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Household, Consumption, Material footprint, MIPS, Sustainability transition

ID: 17361711