New Consumption-Based Emissions Policy Framework for Cities Sets the Direction for Future Urban Climate Action

For Immediate Release
May 2, 2023

New Consumption-Based Emissions Policy Framework for Cities Sets the Direction for Future Urban Climate Action

Consumption-based emissions (CBEs) account for a vast proportion (up to 85%) of greenhouse gas emissions generated in urban areas. Many cities, however, have yet to address the emissions related to the consumption of goods – from food and textiles to appliances and electronics.

To support cities in reducing CBEs while centering equity and ensuring a just transition for all, the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) together with Finnish sustainability consultancy Gaia Consulting have developed a policy framework.

Download Policy Framework and Report


Framework Overview

The Framework outlines existing policy guidelines and use cases in each of the three focus areas of food, textiles and appliances, and highlights policy levers with the highest potential for systemic emissions reductions.

The Framework synthesizes 18 recommendations to center climate justice, implement CBE inventories and pursue circularity in each of the three consumption areas, offering various paths for cities on their journey towards reducing CBEs.

The new Framework supports cities developing CBE inventories by outlining relevant methodologies and data sets, illustrating the pros and cons according to context and availability.

Importance of Framework

“Reducing consumption-based emissions has historically been perceived as stretching beyond the policy levers that even leading cities have at their disposal,” noted Simone Mangili, Executive Director of CNCA, “However, the next generation of climate action addresses the role of consumption by promoting the transition from linear to circular economies which can effectively reduce emissions while creating new economic opportunity, fostering regenerative processes and building community.”

“Cities should commence their journey by identifying the key stakeholders, choosing a suitable approach, creating the policy mix, and establishing solid mechanisms for coordinating the actions to follow,” added Gaia’s Business Director Ms. Suvi Häkämies. “Some cities may arrive at their destination through a single loop, while others might benefit hugely from several rounds of stakeholder identification, approach choices, policy-mix formulations, and coordination revisions. In all cases, the do–learn–adjust approach entails regular updates: periodically returning to the process loop ensures just and impactful consumption-based, emission-mitigating policies.”

Process Background

A city’s pathways to reducing consumption-based emissions are not linear but a continuous iterative process of doing, learning, and adjusting considering the local context and the evolution of information gathered, the tools and technology available, and stakeholders’ input.

In 2021, CNCA initiated a competitive RFP process within CNCA’s Game Changer innovation grant program and, through a curated evaluation process, selected the Scope 3 Policy Framework as one of three winning proposals to receive funding in this round. CNCA Program Manager, Michael Battista, led the project on behalf of CNCA, commissioning Gaia Consulting to support the development of the Consumption-Based Emissions Policy Framework for Cities.

Over the course of 12 months Gaia Consulting conducted extensive desktop research, in depth interviews and collaborative workshops with CNCA cities spanning North America, Europe and Australia. The CNCA steering group composed of 10 member cities met quarterly to inform and guide the process.

Throughout the process, CNCA sought to center equity and climate justice, focusing particular attention on opportunities to reduce inequality and center the needs of priority communities in tackling embodied emissions.

Organizational Background

The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) is a collaboration of leading global cities working to achieve carbon neutrality in the next 10-20 years.

Gaia Consulting Inc is a Finnish consultancy for sustainable business, supporting organizations in the green transition towards responsible growth.

Link to the Report

The policy framework was created together with climate experts representing cities of Adelaide, Boulder, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Helsinki, New York City, Oslo, San Francisco, Stockholm, Vancouver, and C40 Cities network.

Media Contacts

Michael Shank, Director of Engagement, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, tel +1 802 989 9432,,

Gaia Consulting Inc, Communication manager Ms. Annika Stubbe, tel. +358 40 168 3308,