Search eceee proceedings

On the way to a post-carbon society: Assessing the personal carbon footprint of French social milieux to develop targeted intervention strategies

Panel: 8. Dynamics of consumption 

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Andreas Huber, Eifer - European Institute for Energy Research, Germany
Yoann Thomas, European Institute for Energy Research, Germany
Sébastien Girard, European Institute for Energy Research, Germany


Achieving a massive reduction of CO2 emissions depends not only on technical energy efficiency, but also strongly on changing patterns of consumption. Policy makers and science often fail to consider the great variety of modern societies, addressing a standardized uniform being, called “the consumer”. In this paper we take the strong segmentation of the French society into account, applying the SinusMilieux® approach developed by the marketing company Sociovision. These (currently 9) quantifiable social milieux are defined along social values, aspirations, lifestyles and socio-economic conditions. We will analyze the carbon footprint of those Milieux, identify the consumption areas with the highest footprint and subsequently suggest appropriate “interventions strategies” for each Milieu.

Each Milieu is represented by one or two typical profiles, created on prominent characteristics such as the type of housing, frequency of long distance travels, or food preferences. The personal carbon footprint related to each profile is calculated with the Bilan Carbone Personnel® tool which was developed by the French energy agency ADEME. It is subdivided into 4 main categories which account for different kinds of parameters: (1) habitation (2) transportation (3) alimentation and (4) goods and services. First results show that the personal carbon footprint varies greatly from one Milieu to another and from one field of consumption to another, particularly regarding transportation.

Given those strong differences between Milieus and consumption areas we will subsequently suggest low-carbon “interventions strategies” that are targeted to the specific characteristics of different milieus. Typically, such measures can be communication (e.g. campaigns), regulation (personal carbon allowances), financial incentives (e.g. feed-in tariffs), the promotion of collective action (e.g. community initiatives) and changes of “choice infrastructures” (e.g. attractive public transportation).


Download this paper as pdf: 8-295_Huber.pdf

Download this presentation as pdf: 8-295_Huber_pre.pdf