Within the framework of the initiative “The low-carbon area”, Umeå municipality carried out a  survey among their inhabitants in the spring of 2018 to understand more about their consumption habits. The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of which consumption areas that impact most on climate and understand how the municipality can work to facilitate more sustainable consumption patterns among the households.

During the fall of 2018, Umeå contracted the Stockholm Environment Institute to develop a tool for estimating the carbon footprint based on the survey, plus analysing the results of the estimate in a report.

The tool is built as a model based on the questions in the survey, but complemented with a number of outstanding consumption categories from national statistics to ensure that the results can be compared to the Swedish national averages for consumption based emissions. The tool is developed to allow Umeå to repeat the estimates should they decide to undertake a new survey in the future.

A municipality has limited influence on household consumption. However, there are opportunities for a municipality to indirectly influence household consumption by creating opportunities for households to consume more sustainably.Based on the work that Umeå municipality already have ongoing, SEI has proposed a number of additional instruments and measures for Umeå to consider. The project’s final report proposes, among other things, that the municipality initially focuses on policy instruments for the so-called hotspots that were identified through the analysis of the consumption habit survey, i.e.areas with particularly high climate impact. At the municipal level, it is primarily informative and administrative instruments that are available to influence household consumption, but the municipality is also encourage to push for system changes that they consider necessary at national level, with the help of the county administrative board.

With this initiative, Umeå municipality has created a strong platform for the continued work to facilitate sustainable lifestyles among their residents.