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Global Resource Use

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Global Resource Use

The research group “Global Resource Use” (GRU) is one of the leading groups worldwide in the area of quantifying society’s use of natural resources and its consequences. Operating in a worldwide network of around 80 partner institutions, GRU is working at the cutting edge of ongoing sustainability debates to better inform policy makers in their design of policy options for a sustainable future. We develop methods for the spatially explicit assessment of resource flows along international supply chains and trace commodities and related environmental and social impacts from the location of production to distant consumers (see the ERC project FINEPRINT). By that means, we are able to identify hot-spot sectors, products and consumption areas where action is needed most to support a transition towards a low-carbon circular economy.
To promote empirical assessments and international policy processes, we maintain UN Environment’s Global Raw Material Flows Database and consult the OECD in its attempt to harmonize methodologies on consumption-based resource accounting. Moreover, we inform sustainability policy makers and the interested public by providing state-of-the-art visualisation tools such as www.materialflows.net and SCP-HAT. Our data and tools allow to monitor progress towards the realization of the UN SDGs as well as to design target-oriented policies. 

Stefan GILJUM
Stefan GILJUM

Rese­arch Group Leader