Material Footprint Assessment in a Global Input-Output Framework

Giljum, Stefan ORCID: and Bruckner, Martin and Martinez, Aldo (2014) Material Footprint Assessment in a Global Input-Output Framework. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 19 (5). pp. 792-804. ISSN 10881980


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Material flow-based indicators play an important role in indicator sets related to green and resource-efficient growth. This paper 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, multi-regional input-output (MRIO) model based on the 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 Material Footprints 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 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, while 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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Giljum, S., Bruckner, M. and Martinez, A. (2014), Material Footprint Assessment in a Global Input-Output Framework. Journal of Industrial Ecology, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Keywords: International Trade / Material Footprint / Multi-Regional Input-Output Analysis / Raw Material Consumption / Sustainable Resource Management
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Ecological Economics
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Variance from Published Version: Minor
Depositing User: Elena Simukovic
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 13:27
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2020 15:46
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