Hotspot Analysis Tool for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP-HAT)

by Stephan Lutter1, Llorenç Milà i Canals2Feng Wang (presenting author)2, Kate O’Brien2, Fabienne Pierre3, Maria José Baptista4

1: Vienna University of Economics and Business; 2: Life Cycle Initiative, United Nations Environment Programme; 3: 10YFP Secretariat / One Planet network, United Nations Environment Programme; 4: International Resource Panel, United Nations Environment Programme


Shifting to sustainable consumption and production (SCP), including through resource efficiency, is essential to achieving Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015. In designing policy frameworks conducive to the shift to SCP and resource efficiency, an objective understanding of the key national economic processes and activities that generate the most environmental and socio-economic impacts (so-called “hotspots”) is crucial. Until recently, no harmonized methodology to help countries identify “hotspots” or high-impact intervention areas through a robust, science-based but also feasible analysis of their national economies existed. To bridge this gap, three initiatives hosted by the UN Environment Programme: the Life Cycle Initiative, the International Resource Panel (IRP) and the One Planet Network commissioned the project Hotspot Analysis Tool for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP-HAT).

The SCP-HAT is an online application that provides data to feed the analysis of 171 countries’ environmental and socioeconomic performance over the last 25 years, offering empirical evidence of ‘hotspots’ where unsustainable consumption and production practices may be prevalent.

The SCP-HAT integrates data on raw material use, GHG emissions and climate change, air pollution and health, land use and biodiversity loss. It also offers basic socio-economic data at both national level (i.e. GDP; Human Development Index) and sectoral level (i.e. added value, employment), in order to demonstrate decoupling trends. The analysis enables the separate review of impacts from domestic production (“territorial” approach”, regardless of final consumption) and consumption footprint (“footprint approach”, regardless of where production physically occurs).

The SCP-HAT enables better science-based policy and governance by enhancing the capacity of policy-makers and stakeholders to design, implement and monitor cost-effective SCP policy instruments with a strong social dimension. The tool has been gaining considerable momentum and will be undergoing further development to include more environmental indicators in the near future.