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Sustainable Production and Consumption: The Role of Industry and the Consumer in Reducing Carbon Footprints

Adisa Azapagic, School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, The University of Manchester, PO Box 88, Sackville Street, Manchester, M60 1QD, United Kingdom

In the past years we have seen an increasing pressure on industry to become more sustainable. This has led to numerous initiatives in different sectors in an attempt to respond to these pressures. At the same time, we have seen a huge increase in consumption globally, making sustainability an ever more distant goal.

It is clear that creating sustainable societies depends on both sustainable production and consumption. Therefore, both industry and consumers have an important role to play. This paper will explore some of the questions related to sustainable production and consumption by focusing on one significant issue: climate change. Through carbon footprinting, one of the tools which can help towards mitigating climate change, the paper will examine the role of both industry and the consumer in reducing their contribution to climate change. It will also discuss the potential implications for sustainable development of focusing on climate change alone and ignoring other environmental and social issues. This will be illustrated on a number of different supply chains, including the energy, chemical, food & drink and biofuel sectors.