Introducing COICOP

When conducting Life-Cycle Analysis of various expenditure sectors and their carbon emission, a classification system is very important. Without a clear comprehensive and accurate classification system, it would be very easy for people to ignore or double-count certain sectors. Therefore, it is necessary to create a detailed classification system that includes all sectors of household expenditure.

Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose (COICOP) is an expenditure classification system created by United Nation Statistics Division (UNSD) that divides the consumption expenditure by purposes. While household is undeniably a huge part of the general global expenditure, there are other two categories that are indispensable: non-profit institutions serving households and general government.

The first category, households, correspond with divisions No.1 to No. 12, which are individual consumption of households (including food, housing, transport and etc.); the second category, non-profit institutions serving households, corresponds with division No.13, which is Individual consumption expenditure of non-profit institutions serving households (NPISHs); the third category, general government, corresponds with division No. 14, which is Individual consumption expenditure of general government.

One of the researchers in our lab, Anders used the COICOP model when he made the carbon calculator for Swedish households. After using the model, Anders calculated the greenhouse gas each sector creates. Also, in a big picture, which division(s) contributes the most to Sweden’s total carbon footprints. With the data and the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and each sector and division, government officials and environmental researchers can better understand the major contributors in greenhouse gas emission and come up with appropriate mitigation policies regarding each sector and division. Another researcher in our lab, Robert Miehe is also using the model to build the carbon calculator for Germany now.

1. COICOP United Nations Statistics Division
2. Glossary:Classification of individual consumption by purpose (COICOP), Eurostat, European Commission