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Sustainable Consumption and Health


This course is an introductory and foundational course on sustainable consumption and health. In the first part of this course, we briefly review definitions of sustainability and the relationship between the three dimensions of sustainability and the UN-Environment Sustainable Environment Goals (SDGs), target and indicators. We then look at frameworks, indicators and footprint requirements to adequately measure sustainability, offering the opportunity to the participants to assess their own carbon and environmental footprint and make recommendation on how to reduce it. We then address the theme of sustainable consumption, looking at our main domains of consumption and at the key conditions to reach sustainable consumption and avoid rebounds effects that tend to reduce the benefits of increased product efficiency. We finally look at "what is good enough" for a given product or activity, in relationship with absolute sustainability and planetary boundaries.

In the second part focusing on health, we will first identify the main factors affecting health, define DALYs (disability-adjusted life years) as a key metric to measure health burden, and use the rich information made available by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD). We will then use the GBD visualization tool to quantify and compare the respective burdens associated with 70 risks factors and numerous disease causes, in every country of the world and even at the state level for the US. We finally analyze the health impact associated with global trade, evaluating the fraction of the health impacts due to fine particulate in Asia, that are induced by Western consumption.





17 weeks



U-M Credit Eligible



  • Olivier Joliet

    Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

    School of Public Health