“In the case of, for example, Sweden, the UK and many other European countries, their consumption based CO2 emission is a lot higher than production-based CO2 emission,” Chung told a session entitled “Responsible Consumption – who is responsible for it?
Chung presented the problem – developed countries take goods from developing countries whose production is linked to high CO2 emissions, thereby making an indirect contribution to an increased carbon footprint. This problem has been dubbed “the carbon leak” and it can be solved at different levels:
- By creating fiscal instruments similar to the European Union’s transborder mechanism that will stimulate the transition to “sustainable consumption”.
- By changing the method of accounting for emissions to place it in the context of both production and consumers of carbon dioxide – in the same way that the size of GDP can be calculated both by production and consumption methods.
- By adjusting national plans on reducing emissions which, as in the method of accounting, should take account of final consumption of carbon.
“From an individual level, I think it is important for consumers to accept responsibility to pay for the environmental cost that they are causing by their consumption,” Chung said.
The head of the Roskachestva agency, the Russian quality system, Maksim Protasov, also spoke of assuming personal responsibility.
“Of the U.N. sustainability development’s 17 aims, the responsibility of consumers is the most shared goal,” Protasov said.
As an example to confirm this, he pointed to the results of two surveys conducted by Ipsos in Europe and North America and Roskachestva’s Centre for the Scientific study of Consumer Behaviour in Russia. In the first instance 79 % of respondents agreed that responsible consumption was the key to sustainable development. In the second survey that figure reached 84 %.
The general director of the TMK (Metal Pipe Company), Igor Korytko, said consumer responsibility was a growing sector in business to business (B2B) communication.
AS an example, he pointed to the growing popularity of the electrical method of steelmaking (the safest in terms of carbon footprint) as well as the specialised technology in producing pipes – the oil-free surface of threaded links, which eliminates the need to use lubricated materials for borehole columns, and heat-insulated pipes – meaning that in the Arctic work can produced without thawing permafrost.