Title: Historical trends in abiotic and biotic resource flows in the EU (1990-2010)
Citation: Proceedings of the 3rd World Sustain. Forum, 1-30 November 2013; Sciforum Electronic Conference Series, Vol. 3, 2013, a004 vol. 3 p. 1-13
Publisher: Sciforum Electronic Conference Series
Publication Year: 2013
JRC N°: JRC84679
URI: http://www.sciforum.net/conference/wsf3/paper/2160
DOI: 10.3390/wsf3-a004
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In its Communication “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe” the European Commission defined a vision for EU resource consumption by 2050: the economy will have grown compatibly with resource constraints and planetary boundaries, preserving a high standard of living and lowering the environmental impacts. Such vision entails the sustainable management of natural resources, i.e. raw materials, energy, water, air, land and soil as well as biodiversity and ecosystems. In this paper, we focus on analysing the trends of abiotic and biotic resource consumption within the EU27 over the past 20 years, beyond traditional mass-based approaches to resource accounting (e.g. Domestic Material Consumption DMC and total material requirements, TMR). In fact, our assessment is performed at inventory level (thus accounting for the biophysical flows of resources) and at impact assessment level, using different life-cycle impact assessment methods (LCIA) for resource depletion and scarcity. The resources considered in the analysis include only those extracted in EU territory, including: raw materials (metals and minerals), energy carriers, biotic and water resources and the timeframe is 20 years (1990-2010). The final aim is the assessment of the evolution of resource flows in the economy (LCI) and the related resource depletion (LCIA) due to European production and consumption. Trends of resource consumption and associated depletion as well as other existing indicators for monitoring resource efficiency are reported and analysed with the aim of: highlighting the occurrence of decoupling over time, both in absolute and relative terms and giving a comprehensive overview of trends related to different resources, usually handled separately in the existing literature. To complete the sustainability assessment of resource consumption research needs are listed, particularly concerning the need of complementing the study with the analysis of socio-economic drivers underpinning the resource consumption trends.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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