Climate crisis

Everything we buy has a carbon cost

19 JUL 21 |

Perhaps it’s time to shop differently? Watch our video to find out more...

You’ll be surprised how much your purchases cost...the planet

80% of our carbon footprint in Scotland comes from consumption: from all the goods, materials and services which we produce, use and in the case of products, often throw out after just one use.

In other words, our consumption habits (more so in the world’s richest nations) are the biggest contributor to climate change.

Every time we shop for anything, be that a new handbag, hat or headphones, we are heating the planet and using up its scarce resources.

Our new responsible consumption campaign has been launched to show how climate change is linked to what we buy because there is a carbon cost to everything we consume. Our research showed that only one fifth of Scots are fully aware of the negative environmental impacts of our consumption of new products.

Only 1/5 of Scots are fully aware of the negative environmental impacts of our consumption of new products but everything we buy, be that a new hat or headphones, we are heating the planet and using up its scarce resources. #ConsumeResponsibly

What can I do to help reduce my carbon from consumption?

When it comes to everything we consume – from flights to food and fashion to furnishings – buying and wasting less would help to reduce our carbon footprint.

We need to change from a ‘make, use, dispose of’ culture, referred to as the linear economy, to a more circular economy where we maximise the value of the products and materials we use to make them last as long as possible.

Take a laptop for example - we’re not saying don’t buy laptops, rather in a circular economy reuse, repair and remanufacturing options would be prioritised instead of replacing with a brand-new machine after a short period of use.

What is the carbon impact of manufacturing a new laptop?

Correct!

...the same as (can we describe this in terms of comparing to a flight?)

By buying your laptop second-hand, you make carbon savings of 74%!  
(This came from Ramy’s document – I need to check it’s okay to use) 

Incorrect!

The carbon impact of manufacturing a new laptop is 175 kg CO2 equivalent...the same as (can we describe this in terms of comparing to a flight?(

By buying your laptop second-hand, you make carbon savings of 74%!  
(This came from Ramy’s document – I need to check it’s okay to use) 

Incorrect!

The carbon impact of manufacturing a new laptop is 175 kg CO2 equivalent...the same as (can we describe this in terms of comparing to a flight?(

By buying your laptop second-hand, you make carbon savings of 74%!  
(This came from Ramy’s document – I need to check it’s okay to use) 

Businesses can lead with innovative new models such as leasing products to build long term relationships with customers, or redesigning technology to be modular allowing for ease of upgrade without the need to replace the entire device.

You can help by considering whether you really need what you are shopping for and thinking about the processes that products go through before reaching the shop floor. Reducing our demand for raw materials and new products would reduce global emissions that are speeding up climate change.

Our consumer research told us that many people know they can reduce their carbon footprint by flying less but only one fifth were aware that buying new products contributes to climate change.

Everyone can make small changes right now to reduce their carbon from consumption… 

  1. Shop second-hand instead of buying brand new - clothes, furniture, electricals, toys, garden tools - you can pretty much get anything second-hand.

  2. Rent instead of buying or borrow from a friend. Sharing is caring!

  3. Repair and reuse rather than throwing out.

  4. Pick gift experiences over ‘stuff’ when buying presents.

  5. Take a reusable tub to work for your lunchtime takeaway.

  6. Choose reusable products over single-use - reusable period products, washable wipes and safety razors are a great place to start!

Of course, it’s not just down to us as individuals to change how we consume, system change is required. Everyone must play their part if we are to create cohesive, innovative change in the timescales required.

Politicians, policymakers and governments need to be engaged and prepared to act and set direction; businesses need to be primed to act and drive innovative change; and individuals need to be willing to change behaviour to create new demand for sustainable ways of living.

Climate crisis What is a carbon footprint?

06 APR 20 | 4 minute read

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