Growth in Environmental Footprints and Environmental Impacts Embodied in Trade: Resource Efficiency Indicators from EXIOBASE3

12 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2018

See all articles by Richard Wood

Richard Wood

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Konstantin Stadler

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) - Department of Industrial Economics and Technology

Moana Simas

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) - Department of Energy and Process Engineering

Tatyana Bulavskaya

TNO Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research

Stefan Giljum

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Stephan Lutter

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Arnold Tukker

Leiden University - Centre of Environmental Science (CML)

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

Most countries show a relative decoupling of economic growth from domestic resource use, implying increased resource efficiency. However, international trade facilitates the exchange of products between regions with disparate resource productivity. Hence, for an understanding of resource efficiency from a consumption perspective that takes into account the impacts in the upstream supply chains, there is a need to assess the environmental pressures embodied in trade. We use EXIOBASE3, a new multiregional input‐output database, to examine the rate of increase in resource efficiency, and investigate the ways in which international trade contributes to the displacement of pressures on the environment from the consumption of a population. We look at the environmental pressures of energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, material use, water use, and land use. Material use stands out as the only indicator growing in both absolute and relative terms to population and gross domestic product (GDP), while land use is the only indicator showing absolute decoupling from both references. Energy, GHG, and water use show relative decoupling. As a percentage of total global environmental pressure, we calculate the net impact displaced through trade rising from 23% to 32% for material use (1995–2011), 23% to 26% for water use, 20% to 29% for energy use, 20% to 26% for land use, and 19% to 24% for GHG emissions. The results show a substantial disparity between trade‐related impacts for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and non‐OECD countries. At the product group level, we observe the most rapid growth in environmental footprints in clothing and footwear. The analysis points to implications for future policies aiming to achieve environmental targets, while fully considering potential displacement effects through international trade.

Keywords: environmental accounting, environmental input‐output analysis, industrial ecology, multiregional input‐output database, system of integrated and environmental and economic accounting (SEEA), trade and environment

Suggested Citation

Wood, Richard and Stadler, Konstantin and Simas, Moana and Bulavskaya, Tatyana and Giljum, Stefan and Lutter, Stephan and Tukker, Arnold, Growth in Environmental Footprints and Environmental Impacts Embodied in Trade: Resource Efficiency Indicators from EXIOBASE3 (June 2018). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 22, Issue 3, pp. 553-564, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3189141 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12735

Richard Wood (Contact Author)

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) ( email )

Trondheim NO-7491
Norway

Konstantin Stadler

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) - Department of Industrial Economics and Technology ( email )

NO-7491 Trondheim
Norway

Moana Simas

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) - Department of Energy and Process Engineering ( email )

E1-Høgskoleringen 5
Trondheim, 7491
Norway

Tatyana Bulavskaya

TNO Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research

Hoofddorp
Netherlands

Stefan Giljum

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

Stephan Lutter

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

Arnold Tukker

Leiden University - Centre of Environmental Science (CML)

2300 RA Leiden
Netherlands

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