As part of the ‘Tsubasa’ joint research project on the energy system and social equity, Professor Shigetomi of Nagasaki University lead a joint research publication entitled “Quantifying lifestyle based social equity implications for national sustainable development policy”. This research highlights how various behaviors, expressed as our consumption of goods and services can impact upon the overall level of social equity, and also on the sharing of consumption induced burdens. 

Abstract: The aim of this research is to address the challenge of achieving more equitable social outcomes through a reduction and fairer allocation of environmental burdens, and in doing so, contributing to national sustainable development policy. This novel study demonstrates the nature of societal outcomes through the lens ofinequity with respect to lifestyle related environmental footprints and stakeholder preferences. Footprints are derived using input-output analysis, while environmental issue preferences and potential remedial actions are identified using a national survey. To highlight the value of the broadly applicable framework, here we demonstrate a case study of Japan, which is interesting due to shifting demographics engendering an aging, shrinking population. Key findings include that the mitigation of environmental footprints in line with household preferences can positively influence both societal equity outcomes and contribute to closing the gap between rich and poor. Importantly, broad participation, i.e. participation irrespective of income level, is shown to be more effective than participation from a single sector. These findings can assist policymakers to develop policies which are responsive to societal preferences and demographic trends while also furthering the debate toward clarifying norms for acceptable levels of social equity.

DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab9142