Navigation path

Being healthy, wealthy & wise

Fresh strawberries are one of the delights of summer. But does it make sense to fly them in from the other side of the world so we can eat them in winter too?

 
Buying local produce means getting the freshest produce available. (c) European Commission

Buying local produce means getting the freshest produce available.

We are all consumers, but some of our consumption habits contribute more to climate change than others. Small changes can reduce these impacts – and allow us to live less expensively, for longer and more healthily.

Businesses and community groups across Europe are already offering a variety of creative and practical solutions. For instance, small-town communities are digitally connecting local farmers to consumers in their area to ensure the shortest distance from production to plate.

Buying green

Ecolabel

The EU Ecolabel and other environmental labelling schemes help you to identify the "greenest" products, while Ecodesign rules are pushing manufacturers to develop innovative products which are of better quality and have a lower environmental impact.

So whether you're buying groceries, looking for a new TV or computer, purchasing paint or booking a hotel, watch out for the labels!

A few enterprising ideas

As consumers who want to build a world we like, it's useful to bear in mind that:

  • Fresh seasonal produce grown locally requires as little as one fifth of the energy needed for produce transported from further afield.
  • Producing a kilo of beef generates more CO2 emissions than driving a car for three hours, so cutting back reduces your carbon footprint.
  • Every kilo of new clothes bought results in some 25kg of CO2 emissions - the equivalent of powering a lamp for nearly 20 days.
  • One-third of emissions linked to clothes stems from how they are cared for, so wash at a lower temperature and dry them in the air – you'll save money too!

How can you help?

It's not just up to political decision-makers and businesses to make changes. By rethinking our habits and making small but effective changes to what we consume, we can collectively make a big reduction in our environmental impact. So take a positive step and leave a low-carbon footprint!

What are your smart ideas for reducing the carbon footprint of what we buy? Share them on Facebook.