Policy Review on Decoupling and Development of Resource Productivity Indicators

  • Project no.3302
  • Duration 12/2003 - 11/2004

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:

  • to identify and explain the reasons for differences in material intensities and patterns of resource use of the EU-15 and the AC-13
  • to derive a weighted indicator of material flows that reflects the highest environmental impacts
  • to identify the land use intensity
  • to identify a limited set of mass flow and land use indicators that are manageable
  • to assess whether one or more indicators could be used for benchmarking exercises.

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