Dematerialization Through Services: Evaluating the Evidence

Dematerialization Through Services: Evaluating the Evidence
Fix, Blair. (2019). BioPhysical Economics and Resource Quality. OnlineFirst. 12 March. (Article - Journal; English).

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Abstract or Brief Description

Dematerialization through services is a popular proposal for reducing environmental impact. The idea is that by shifting from the production of goods to the provision of services, a society can reduce its material demands. But do societies with a larger service sector actually dematerialize? I test the ‘dematerialization through services’ hypothesis with a focus on fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions—the primary drivers of climate change. I find no evidence that a service transition leads to carbon dematerialization. Instead, a larger service sector is associated with greater use of fossil fuels and greater carbon emissions per person. This suggests that 'dematerialization through services’ is not a valid sustainability policy.



Publication Type

Article - Journal

Additional Information



dematerialization service transition carbon emissions energy


BN Ecology & Environment
BN Growth

Depositing User

Jonathan Nitzan

Date Deposited

16 Mar 2019 02:53

Last Modified

16 Mar 2019 17:26


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