Towards fossil free cities – Emission assessment of food and resources consumption with the FEWprint carbon accounting platform

Pieter Nick ten Caat*, Martin J. Tenpierik, Tithi Sanyal, Nico M.J.D. Tillie, Andy A.J.F. van den Dobbelsteen, Geoffrey Thün, Sean Cullen, Shun Nakayama, Theodora Karanisa, Stewart Monti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Current urbanization rates concentrate the ever growing demand for food, energy and water (FEW) resources particularly in cities, making them one of the main drivers of greenhouse gas emissions. The FEW nexus integrative approach offers a potential framework for sustainable resource management in cities. However, existing nexus evaluation tools are limited in application and often inadequate. This is primarily due to the FEW nexus intricacy, the tools’ operational complexity and/or the need to input comprehensive data that is often unavailable to users. Having outlined these current gaps, this paper introduces the FEWprint, an integrated carbon accounting platform that provides an accessible process for FEW nexus-based evaluations of urban areas. This spreadsheet-based framework is employed to calculate a consumption-based footprint derived from food consumption, thermal/electrical energy use, car fuel demand, water management, and domestic waste processing. A comparative assessment between six different communities reveals significant differences in total annual emissions. The food sector impact shows emissions ranging between 993Kg/cap∗yr and 1366Kg/cap∗yr in Amsterdam and Tokyo respectively, but is also the least deviating from all considered resource sectors. This holistic carbon footprint and considered food inventory will serve as a baseline for future integrated urban farming strategies and urban design proposals to be tested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100074
Number of pages26
JournalCleaner Environmental Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Assessment model
  • Carbon accounting
  • Carbon emissions
  • Nexus
  • Sustainable cities
  • Urban food production


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