Resource flows link the economy with the ecosystem and form the bridge between human activities and environmental impacts. The use of resources on the one hand leads to wealth and economic growth. On the other hand, it leads to problems related to resource availability, and to the generation of waste and emissions. In many countries as well as in the EU, decoupling of economic growth and resource use has become a policy objective.
The 6th Environmental Action Programme (6 EAP) (European Commission, 2002) also has addressed the issue of the use of natural resources, and describes the objective for the thematic strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources (Resource Strategy) as: "ensuring that the consumption of resources and their associated impacts do not exceed the carrying capacity of the environment and breaking the linkages between economic growth and resource use".
The objectives of the project are supposed to support the European Commission developing the Resource Strategy and are the following: