Sustainable Resource Use

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Sus­tain­able Re­source Use

The re­search group Sus­tain­able Re­source Use at the In­sti­tute for Eco­lo­gical Eco­nom­ics is one of the lead­ing in­ter­na­tional groups in the areas of nat­ural re­source ac­count­ing and in­dic­at­ors, mod­el­ing, and assess­ments fo­cus­ing on ma­ter­i­als, wa­ter, and land use. Our group is entirely pro­ject fun­ded through several ma­jor European re­search pro­jects as well as from a num­ber of of­fi­cial bod­ies such as the European Com­mis­sion, UN En­vir­on­ment, OECD, and na­tional min­is­tries.

We work on the devel­op­ment of meth­ods, in­dic­at­ors and re­lated tar­gets to mon­itor the trans­ition to­wards a re­source-ef­fi­cient, low-­car­bon economy. To sup­port em­pir­ical assess­ments, we develop global re­source flow data­bases, such as the global raw ma­ter­ial flow data­set for UN En­vir­on­ment. We also ap­ply and im­prove vari­ous ap­proaches of en­vir­on­mental ac­count­ing, in par­tic­u­lar in the area of mul­ti-re­gional in­put-out­put (MRIO) mod­el­ling. Ap­ply­ing these mod­els al­lows us assess­ing re­source flows along in­ter­na­tional sup­ply chains and cal­cu­lat­ing con­sump­tion-­based (or foot­print-­type) re­source use in­dic­at­ors, in order to identify hot-spot sect­ors, products and con­sump­tion areas.

In the ER­C-­fun­ded pro­ject FINEPRINT and several re­lated pro­jects, we pur­sue two main fu­ture re­search dir­ec­tions. First, to move ma­ter­ial flow ana­lysis from the na­tional level to a spa­tially-­ex­pli­cit level, in order to bet­ter link amounts of raw ma­ter­ial ex­trac­tion to re­lated en­vir­on­mental and so­cial im­pacts. Second, to im­prove mod­els to trace re­source flows along in­ter­na­tional sup­ply-­chains by devel­op­ing mul­ti-re­gional in­put-out­put mod­els based on phys­ical in­stead of mon­et­ary data.

Our group is act­ively en­gaged in in­form­ing European and in­ter­na­tional re­source policy makers, as well as in fos­ter­ing in­ter­na­tional col­lab­or­a­tion and the har­mon­isa­tion of meth­od­o­lo­gies. In these con­texts, mem­bers of the group have pub­lished a large num­ber of aca­demic pa­pers and high-­level re­ports on European and global re­source use.


Rese­arch Area Leader