Toronto’s first consumption-based emissions inventory (CBEI) identifies opportunities to help reduce Toronto’s carbon footprint within the city and across the globe.


Toronto’s CBEI estimates the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with consumption – that is the emissions associated with producing, transporting, using, and disposing of goods and services consumed by Toronto residents over the course of a year. A CBEI captures emissions associated with the purchase of goods and services by Toronto residents, including the food that appears on supermarket shelves, consumer goods purchased at a department store and larger items like personal vehicles. Typically, for these products and services, the majority of GHG emissions are generated outside of Toronto’s geographic boundary because many of them are not produced in Toronto.

Complementary to CBEI, a sector-based emissions inventory (SBEI) measures the GHGs attributable to emissions generating activities taking place within the geographic boundary of the city, as well as some indirect emissions from waste produced in the city, and transmission of electricity into the city boundary in a given time period (typically one year).

Toronto’s first CBEI report serves as a baseline study for the calendar year 2019 using the best currently available data for the city. Two baselines were generated as part of the CBEI – a baseline for community-wide emissions, and a separate baseline for emissions from the City government itself (corporate emissions). Observations from an additional analysis regarding emissions from embodied carbon found in Buildings and Linear Infrastructure Emissions was also generated to complement the information found in the community and corporate CBEIs.

2019 CBEI Key Findings

  • Toronto’s community-wide consumption-based emissions were roughly 39 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). When compared to Toronto’s sector-based emissions inventory, consumption-based emissions were 2.5 times greater than sector-based emissions reported in 2019 (15.6MT). With 1,141,709 households in the city, this equates to approximately 34 tonnes of tCO2e per-household. For reference, the Canadian average for consumption-based emissions is estimated at about 37 tCO2e per-household. For comparison, the per capita emissions for Toronto and Canada are listed in the table below.
Per Capita Consumption-Based and Sector-Based Emissions for Toronto and Canada (tCO2e)
Inventory Type Canada Toronto
CBEI 14.3 13.1
SBEI 19.4 5.4

To view the source for SBEI on page 3 (21) read Government of Canada Publications

  • The vast majority of emissions in the CBEI – about 75 per cent – are Scope 3 emissions. Scope 3 emissions, in the context of a community-wide consumption-based inventory, are the result of activities involved in producing everything consumed by households, such as food, clothing, furniture, etc. Scope 1 emissions occur from sources controlled or owned by households (e.g., emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles). Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling.

Pie chart showing consumption-based emissions from both direct and indirect greenhouse emissions controlled or owned by households with indirect emissions from food and household goods in Scope 3 being the highest at 75%, Scope 1 being the second highest at 24% and Scope 2 being the lowest at less than 1%.










  • Food is the largest source of emissions in Toronto’s community-wide consumption-based inventory. Other categories in the community-wide CBEI include transportation, services, housing, and goods. Food includes all food consumed by Toronto residents, including meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and other foods consumed at home, as well as foods consumed outside the homes.

Bar chart showing community-wide consumption-based emissions in Toronto, with food as the largest source at 9.3 annual megatonnes of CO2e in 2019, followed by transportation (9), services (8.5), housing (7.4) and goods (4.7).
















  • The City of Toronto’s corporate CBEI was 2.4 MTCO2e, which is about six per cent of the Toronto’s total community-wide consumption-based emissions. Corporate emissions from construction and maintenance, utilities, and transportation were the largest sources. Among City Divisions, Agencies, and Corporations (DACs), the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Toronto Water (TW), and Transportation Services (TS) were the highest sources of consumption-based emissions, driven heavily by their significant investments in capital projects.

Bar chart showing corporate consumption-based emissions in Toronto with construction and maintenance being the largest source at 895 annual kilotonnes of CO2e in 2019, followed by utilities (544), transportation (394), goods (360) and services (170).
















  • Construction and maintenance of buildings and linear infrastructure (such as roads, railways and water infrastructure) in Toronto accounted for 1,513 kilotonnes (kt) of CO2e as shown in the complementary 2019 Buildings and Linear Infrastructure Emissions Analysis report. Of this total, buildings comprised 1,065 ktCO2e, while linear infrastructure comprised 448 ktCO2e; however, these findings include some overlap with calculations from the community and corporate-wide inventories and therefore should be understood as part of the context of those two other CBEIs.

Future CBEI Reporting

CBEIs are developed using a wide range of data from local, national, and international sources. These data inform computer models that are used to predict consumer behavior and their corresponding impacts from material consumption. However, due to limited data availability, the data sources and models used in Toronto’s CBEI were based primarily upon U.S. data.

Because of the current limitations on data availability and evolving CBEI methodology, Toronto’s next CBEI will be produced in 2027, following the release of the 2026 national census when data will be comparable to the 2019 CBEI for progress monitoring.

Nevertheless, the findings of Toronto’s inaugural CBEI can still be incorporated into policy, program, and project activities across the city. The information in the report could be used to consider near term policy- or category-specific targets, or even set targets based upon readily available, actionable data that indicate changes in consumption-based emissions without directly monitoring those emissions (“actionable data indicators” or ADI).

For instance, work has already been initiated specific to food-related emissions as part of the City’s commitment to reduce the emissions from the food that it procures. In 2019, the City of Toronto became a signatory of the World Resources Institute (WRI)’s Cool Food Pledge and pledged to decrease emissions from public food procurement by 25 per cent by 2030 relative to 2019 levels (2019.HL10.2). The City continues to calculate and report on an annual basis to the Cool Food Pledge and C40 on progress towards Toronto’s food procurement-related commitments and will include these updates in TransformTO’s Net Zero Status Updates (2023.IE6.6).

With respect to building emissions, in 2022, City Planning updated the Toronto Green Standard Version 4 (TGS v4) which applies to new buildings and included revisions in the “Embodied Emissions in Materials” performance measures which apply to the emissions produced by materials used to construct buildings and limit these emissions to 350 kg CO2e/m2 for Tier 2 mid-high rise, non-residential buildings and City-owned facilities and 250 kgCO2e/m2 for Tier 3 mid-high rise and non-residential buildings (2023.PH3.19). Both Environment & Climate division and City Planning continue to refine and adjust actions being taken to address embodied carbon in buildings as further refinement and studies become available.

While methodologies and practices for tracking consumption-based emissions is an emerging field, it shows potential for unique opportunities to support local government in future with developing targets, policies, and programs that can help shift Toronto residents towards more responsible production and consumption of goods and services in order to reduce Toronto’s global carbon footprint.

2019 CBEI Reports