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

Verena Frey, Martin Bruckner

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

45 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.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameEcological Economic Papers

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 107004 Human ecology
  • 201128 Sustainable building
  • 401905 Renewable resources
  • 405
  • 405004 Sustainable agriculture
  • 502042 Environmental economics
  • 502022 Sustainable economics
  • 105904 Environmental research

WU Working Paper Series

  • Ecological Economic Papers

Cite this