Women may be stereotyped as the type who enjoys shopping, but men’s spending has a much larger carbon footprint, according to consumer research in Sweden.
the study, published this week in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, examined the carbon emissions created by consumption in categories such as food, clothing, furniture and vacations. Even though the hundreds of single men and women studied spent similar amounts of money, men’s purchases created 16% higher emissions, the authors found.
This is because men were more likely to lose money in high-emitting categories, such as gasoline for cars, spending 70% more than women on these expenses. Women spent more on health care, clothing and furnishings, categories of consumers that emit less.
“The way they spend is very stereotypical,” said Annika Carlsson-Kanyama, lead researcher for the study. The Guardian. “[W]Men spend more money on home decor, health and clothing and men spend more on fuel for cars, restaurant meals, alcohol and tobacco, ”he said. -she declared to the media.
For both sexes, vacations have played a significant role in emissions, with one-third of the carbon emitted each year by a typical vacation-related spender. Here, again, males were more likely to drive a car while traveling for pleasure, and male emissions while on vacation were therefore higher. When both sexes booked travel packages, there was no difference in carbon footprint.
The researchers concluded that around 40% of consumption-related emissions could be avoided by making different choices, such as taking the train instead of driving.
Previous research by Carlsson-Kanyama has shown that men tend to use more energy than women, which increases their carbon emissions. In contrast, the study found that men’s and women’s diets were almost equal in terms of carbon impact – men ate more meat while women ate more dairy.
Carlsson-Kanyama told The Guardian that she was surprised more studies do not examine differences in carbon footprints based on gender, saying: “There are some pretty clear differences and they are not likely to disappear in the near future. “
The patterns are maintained across the Atlantic. American men tend to drive more than women, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. A 2010 analysis by Slate found that the typical single man in the United States was responsible for about 6% more carbon emissions than the typical single woman.
In both the United States and Sweden, singles were responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than married people or people living in households. Indeed, parents’ emissions are offset by those of their children, who pollute little when they are young.
However, a 2017 study concluded that the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint was to have less children, then live without a car and avoid air travel.
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