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Global Resource Use

Global Resource Use

The research group Global 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.

Stefan GILJUM
Stefan GILJUM

Rese­arch Group Leader