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The data presented come from the OECD pilot database on material flows, and from other national and international sources.
The definitions used are based on the OECD Guide «Measuring material flows and resource productivity» and on ongoing international work on material flow accounting and analysis (MFA).
It should be born in mind that the data should be interpreted with caution and that the time series presented here may change in future as work on methodologies for MF accounting progresses. Furthermore, data contain rough estimates for OECD and BRIICS aggregates.
These data refer to material resources, i.e. materials originating from natural resources that form the material basis of the economy: metals (ferrous, non-ferrous) non-metallic minerals (construction minerals, industrial minerals), biomass (wood, food) and fossil energy carriers.
The use of materials in production and consumption processes has many economic, social and environmental consequences. These consequences often extend beyond the borders of countries or regions, notably when materials are traded internationally, either in the form of raw materials or as products embodying them. They differ among the various materials and among the various stages of the resource life cycle (extraction, processing, use, transport, end-of-life management). From an environmental point of view these consequences depend on:
the rate of extraction and depletion of renewable and non-renewable resource stocks
the extent of harvest and the reproductive capacity and natural productivity of renewable resources
the associated environmental burden (e.g. pollution, waste, habitat disruption), and its effects on environmental quality (e.g. air, water, soil, biodiversity, landscape) and on related environmental services
These data inform about physical flows of material resources at various levels of detail and at various stages of the flow chain. The information shows:
a) the material basis of economies and its composition by major material groups, considering:
the extraction of raw materials;
the trade balance in physical terms;
the consumption of materials;
the material inputs
b) the consumption of selected materials that are of environmental and economic significance.
c) in-use stocks of selected products that are of environmental and economic significance.
Domestic extraction used (DEU) refers to the flows of raw materials extracted or harvested from the environment and that physically enter the economic system for further processing or direct consumption (they are used by the economy as material factor inputs).
Unused domestic extraction (UDE) exclude excavated soil for construction purposes and soil erosion from agricultural land. The main reason is that excavated soil is commonly not reported in statistics, and estimation methods are not well developed.
Imports (IMP) and exports (EXP) are major components of the direct material flow indicators DMI (domestic material input) and DMC (domestic material consumption). They cannot be taken as indication of domestic resource requirements.
Indirect flows of imports and exports (IFIMP and IFEXP) indicate the magnitude of global primary materials resource requirements associated with these flows. They thus indicate a generic environmental pressure caused by foreign resource requirements
The physical trade balance (PTB) refers to the trade surplus or deficit of an economy, which is defined as imports minus exports of raw materials and manufactured products.
Domestic material consumption (DMC) refers to the amount of materials directly used in an economy, which refers to the apparent consumption of materials. DMC is computed as DEU minus exports plus imports.
Domestic material input (DMI) is computed as DEU plus imports.
Total material requirements (TMR) is computed as DMI plus indirect flows of imports (IFIMP) plus UDE
Total material consumption (TMC) is computed as DMC plus UDE plus physical trade balance of indirect flows (IFPTB)
Total Material Requirement (TMR) and Total Material Consumption (TMC) exclude the components of (domestic) earth/soil excavation and dredging, and the (domestic) soil erosion from agricultural land.
The material groups are:
Food: food crops (e.g. cereals, roots, sugar and oil bearing crops, fruits, vegetables), fodder crops (including grazing), wild animals (essentially marine catches), small amounts of non-edible biomass (e.g. fibres, rubber), and related products including livestock.
Wood: harvested wood and traded products essentially made of wood (paper, furniture, etc.).
Construction minerals: non-metallic construction minerals whether primary (e.g. sand, gravel, stones, limestone, excavated soil if used) or processed (e.g. glass, cement, concrete).