Ecologically unequal exchanges driven by EU consumption

Benedikt Bruckner, Yuli Shan*, Christina Prell*, Yannan Zhou, Honglin Zhong, Kuishuang Feng, Klaus Hubacek*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

4 Citaten (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


In our globalized economy, the consumption of goods and services induces economic benefits but also environmental pressures and impacts around the world. Consumption levels are especially high in the current 27 member countries of the European Union (EU), which are some of the wealthiest economies in the world. Here, we determine the global distribution of ten selected environmental pressures and impacts, as well as value added induced by EU consumption from 1995 to 2019. We show that large shares of all analysed environmental pressures and impacts are outsourced to countries and regions outside the EU, while more than 85% of the economic benefits stay within the member countries. But there is also uneven distribution of costs and benefits within the EU. Over the analysed period, pressures and impacts induced by EU consumption largely decreased within the EU but increased outside its borders. We show that Eastern European neighbours of the EU experienced the highest environmental pressures and impacts per unit of GDP associated with EU consumption. The findings of this research add to the discussions on outsourcing environmental pressures and impacts and highlight the need for a reduction of pressures and impacts induced by EU consumption.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)587–598
Aantal pagina's16
TijdschriftNature sustainability
Vroegere onlinedatum26-jan.-2023
StatusPublished - 2023

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