The global carbon footprint of Austria's consumption of agricultural (food and non-food) products

Verena Frey, Martin Bruckner

Publikation: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

268 Downloads (Pure)


Agricultural production is one of the largest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. High-income countries like Austria source large quantities of feed, food and nonfood crops abroad thereby outsourcing emissions. Understanding global supply chains and geographical patterns of the trade with agricultural products is crucial for taking on responsibility for consumption-based emissions arising in other world regions. This study investigates Austria’s carbon footprint capturing all emissions from global agriculture associated with the consumption of food and non-food products. The analysis gives detailed insights into the contribution of various products and product categories, countries and regions, and carbon emitting processes across global supply chains, while comprehensively capturing all products consumed in Austria including their upstream emissions. The results show that while emission sources vary considerably for different consumption products, animal-based products account for the major part of emissions across the source regions. About 64% of Austrian emissions related to Austria’s carbon footprint of food products occur outside Austrian borders. Most emissions origin in Austria itself (36%), the rest of Europe (22%) and Asia (19%) and Latin America (14%). More than two thirds of emissions are related to the consumption of meat and other animal-based products. The results show the importance of consumption patterns, especially of meat and other animal products, for the Austrian footprint, which implies a great reduction potential through alternative diets and indicates clear limitations for emission mitigation strategies that instead focus on production efficiency.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2021


ReiheEcological Economic Papers

Österreichische Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige (ÖFOS)

  • 107004 Humanökologie
  • 201128 Nachhaltiges Bauen
  • 401905 Nachwachsende Rohstoffe
  • 405
  • 405004 Nachhaltige Landwirtschaft
  • 502042 Umweltökonomie
  • 502022 Nachhaltiges Wirtschaften
  • 105904 Umweltforschung

WU Working Paper Reihe

  • Ecological Economic Papers