The project „INNOVATE“ examines the causes and effects of indirect emissions. Contrary to direct emissions, indirect emissions are not accumulated in a given country (e.g. Austria) but caused elsewhere due to the consumption of goods and services in said country.

While numerous methods to measure direct CO2 emissions exist already, indirect emissions have often been left aside. However, our carbon footprint grows considerably if the emissions of production and supply chains are taken into account as well. More precisely, Austria’s net emissions are more than 50% higher than current statistics indicate (following the valid standards for measurement of emissions in a country).

The work of INNOVATE aims to find out which areas of consumption cause the most outsourced CO2 emissions. Built on that knowledge policy recommendations and instruments to record, assess and adequately lower its global emissions.

Traditional greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting considers emissions caused by e.g. businesses or households within a given country. This so called production-based accounting (PBA) is used within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). INNOVATE’s focus on consumption-based emissions (also known as the ecological footprint) complements this method. Consumption-based accounting comprises all emissions caused by a country’s consumption, no matter where they were actually emitted. Because production and consumption often occur in different geographical regions, the two methods show different levels for countries investigated.

Project team

The project team comprises researchers from the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change at the University of Graz (Project coordination), the Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) and the Environment Agency Austria. It is supported by international experts from Bonn, Oslo und Manchester.

Project duration: 1 March 2015 – 28 February 2018

Find out more on the INNOVATE website.


Go here to find out more about the research area Sustainable Economic Policy and Global Responsibility