Driving Forces of Changing Environmental Pressures from Consumption in the European Food System

Roberto Zoboli, Philipp Schepelmann, An Vercalsteren, José Acosta-Fernandez, Mathieu Saurat, Katrien Boonen, Maarten Christis, Giovanni Marin, Cathy Maguire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The paper provides an integrated assessment of environmental and socio-economic effects arising from final consumption of food products by European households. Direct and indirect effects accumulated along the global supply chain are assessed by applying environmentally extended input–output analysis (EE-IOA). EXIOBASE 3.4 database is used as a source of detailed information on environmental pressures and world input–output transactions of intermediate and final goods and services. An original methodology to produce detailed allocation matrices to link IO data with household expenditure data is presented and applied. The results show a relative decoupling between environmental pressures and consumption over time and shows that European food consumption generates relatively less environmental pressures outside Europe (due to imports) than average European consumption. A methodological framework is defined to analyze the main driving forces by means of a structural decomposition analysis (SDA). The results of the SDA highlight that while technological developments and changes in the mix of consumed food products result in reductions in environmental pressures, this is offset by growth in consumption. The results highlight the importance of directing specific research and policy efforts towards food consumption to support the transition to a more sustainable food system in line with the objectives of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • environmentally extended input–output analysis
  • food consumption
  • value chain analysis


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