Lifestyle Material Footprint: An explanation


10 December, 2016



This briefing paper provides companies with an explanation of what the lifestyle material footprint is, and the information that it can provide businesses. The Sustainable Lifestyles cluster has been working with the material footprint to better understand where the impacts of our lifestyles come from. The material footprint measures the resource use over the complete life-cycle of products, services and activities that shape lifestyles, e.g. food consumption and mobility patterns. It can be applied in different scales, from individual lifestyle material footprints to the average material footprint per capita in a country. 

The lifestyle material footprint allows us to:

  • Measure the amount of resource consumption resulting from our lifestyles;
  • Identify the most pressing sustainability impact areas, called ‘hotspots’, arising from the way we live;
  • Compare the sustainability performance between different lifestyle areas, products, services and activities;
  • It is expressed in mass units, such as kilogram, measured per year, and accounts for both resources used economically and unused extraction;
  • Prioritize areas where business improvements and innovations will be most significant to enable sustainable lifestyles;
  • Measure how far business solutions can take us in achieving sustainable living and initiate transformation towards sustainability;
  • Easily communicate lifestyle impacts and sustainable business opportunities.