Material Footprint Assessment in a Global Input‐Output Framework

13 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2015

See all articles by Stefan Giljum

Stefan Giljum

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Martin Bruckner

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Aldo Martinez

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

Material flow‐based indicators play an important role in measuring green and resource‐efficient growth. This article examines the global flows of materials and the amounts of materials directly and indirectly necessary to satisfy domestic final demand in different countries world‐wide. We calculate the indicator Raw Material Consumption (RMC), also referred to as material footprint (MF), by applying a global, multiregional input‐output model based on the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) database and extended by material extraction data. We examine world‐wide patterns of material extraction and materials embodied in trade and consumption, investigating changes between 1997 and 2007. We find that flows of materials related to international trade have increased by almost 60% between 1997 and 2007. We show that the differences in MFs per capita are huge, ranging from up to 100 tonnes in the rich, oil‐exporting countries to values as low as 1.5 to 2.0 tonnes in some developing countries. We also quantify the differences between the indicators Domestic Material Consumption (DMC) and RMC, illustrating that net material exporters generally have a DMC larger than RMC, whereas the reverse is observed for net importers. Finally, we confirm the fact that most countries with stable or declining DMCs actually show increasing RMCs, indicating the occurrence of leakage effects, which are not fully captured by DMC. This challenges the world‐wide use of DMC as a headline indicator for national material consumption and calls for the consideration of upstream material requirements of international trade flows.

Keywords: industrial ecology, international trade, material footprint, multiregional input‐output analysis, raw material consumption, sustainable resource management

Suggested Citation

Giljum, Stefan and Bruckner, Martin and Martinez, Aldo, Material Footprint Assessment in a Global Input‐Output Framework (October 2015). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 19, Issue 5, pp. 792-804, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2676945 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12214

Stefan Giljum (Contact Author)

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

Martin Bruckner

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

Aldo Martinez

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

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