Hidden Impact

Will you look beneath the surface for what we unconsciously cause?

We as Western consumers have much more impact than we think. Not only in our daily activities in and around the house or weekly at the gaspump, but mostly on the other side of the world, by producing and transporting the things we buy and use daily. This book gives you background information and practical tips, so you can make effective changes to reduce your negative impact and create even more positive impact!

Get the English book in .pdf

Why 'hidden' impact?

As Western consumers, we have much more impact than we think. Not only with the ‘classics’ such as our car, heating and electricity, but also on the other side of the world, in making and transporting all the things we buy every day. Most of the impact has already taken place before we buy a product in the store!

If you include that hidden impact, you can reduce your impact in a much more effective way. That’s good news!

In addition, we often only look at one type of impact, such as CO2 or plastic. Suppose you only pay attention to packaging, then in theory you could continue to eat meat and fly. Babette takes all kinds of impacts into account, and thus tackles the blind spots in our thinking about sustainability.

When taking hidden impact into account, your sustainable choices really make a difference!

The impact top 10

The top 10 shows us where we cause most of our impact. But more importantly, it also shows us what we can best work with if we want to become more sustainable.

It turns out that the average Dutchman’s stuff is number 1 in the Impact Top 10. Our car takes up number 2. Thereafter come the impacts of our housing and eating meat and fish. At number 5, there’s flying and at number 6, all food except meat, dairy and eggs, is listed, meaning vegetable food and drinks. After that, clothing and textiles, dairy and eggs, personal care in the bathroom and public transport, being the smallest of the impact top 10.

In the spring of 2020 research bureau CE Delft re-examined the top 10 categories. The new data has caused a number of shifts compared to the previous impact top 10. The top 10 shown on the right and described above is the most recent version (2020).

Would you like to know more about the top 10? Let us know if you have any questions via info@thinkbigactnow.org.

You can download the report that CE Delft created in 2018 for The Hidden Impact regarding the average Frenchmen here (in English).


Calculate your own Impact Top 10

Better, Other ways, Less: B-O-L

You can reduce your impact in three ways: choosing better alternatives, searching for other solutions and sometimes a little less is more. Better, Other ways, Less: B-O-L.

Making something ‘better’ means making polluting things cleaner. There’s a lot to gain from that. In recent years, for example, airplanes and greenhouses have become more energy efficient. ‘Better’ is a step on the way to ‘good’. Useful, but still in progress.

By ‘other ways’ I mean a sustainable alternative. And there are already many of them. The train (using green electricity) instead of the airplane, solar panels instead of grey electricity and legumes instead of meat. ‘Other ways’ can lead to a system change.

Half of the Dutch people have difficulties keeping their weight healthy and our houses are full of stuff. Put that next to the two biggest impacts: stuff and eating meat! Less consumption makes the most sense. And maybe a little less will make us happy. The best part is, it’s super easy. You can start today!

More advice in the book!
Find out what you can do to live an eco-positive life!


Paperback (NL)


Hou je toch meer van lezen in een echt boek dat je kunt vasthouden? De paperback is verkrijgbaar in de boekhandel en verschillende webshops, zoals bol.com.

Digital book (ENG)


We translated The Hidden Impact into English, the content relates partly to the Dutch situation and partly to the United States; it is a draft version, but it is complete. This PDF is perfect for digital reading on your tablet, but less suitable for an e-reader.

15.00Add to cart

About the author

Babette Porcelijn MSc. studied Industrial Design at TU Delft (2001). There she gained knowledge of industrial processes and chain analysis. Babette has her own design studio for design and communication since 2011. In 2016 she published her first book ‘The hidden impact’.

More than 13,000 of these have now been sold and it has now also been published in France. Babette is currently working on her next book. In addition, she often gives presentations and provides consulting and advice to organisations with a sustainability task.