Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI

Vienna, Austria

Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI

Vienna, Austria
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Bruckner M.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI | Giljum S.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI | Lutz C.,Institute of Economic Structures Research GWS mbH | Wiebe K.S.,Institute of Economic Structures Research GWS mbH
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2012

Production and consumption activities in industrialized countries are increasingly dependent on material and energy resources from other world regions and imply significant economic and environmental consequences in other regions around the world. The substitution of domestic material extraction and processing through imports is also shifting environmental burden abroad and thus extends the responsibility for environmental impacts as well as social consequences from the national to the global level. Based on the results of the Global Resource Accounting Model, this paper presents the first trade balances and consumption indicators for embodied materials in a time series from 1995 to 2005. The model includes 53 countries and two world regions. It is based on the 2009 edition of the input-output tables and bilateral trade data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and is extended by physical data on global material extraction. The results quantify the global shift of embodied material resources from developing and emerging countries to the industrialized world. In addition to the level of industrialization and wealth, population density is identified as an important factor for the formation of physical trade patterns. Exports of embodied materials of less densely populated countries tend to surpass their imports, and vice versa. We also provide a quantitative comparison between conventionally applied indicators on material consumption based on direct material flows and indicators including embodied material flows. We show that the difference between those two indicators can be as much as 200%, calling for an adjustment of conventional national material flow indicators. Multi-regional input-output models prove to be a useful methodological approach to derive globally consistent and comprehensive data on material embodiments of trade and consumption. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Galli A.,Global Footprint Network | Wiedmann T.,CSIRO | Ercin E.,University of Twente | Knoblauch D.,Ecologic Institute | And 2 more authors.
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2012

In recent years, attempts have been made to develop an integrated Footprint approach for the assessment of the environmental impacts of production and consumption. In this paper, we provide for the first time a definition of the "Footprint Family" as a suite of indicators to track human pressure on the planet and under different angles. This work has been developed under the 7th Framework Programme in the European Commission (EC) funded One Planet Economy Network: Europe (OPEN:EU) project. It builds on the premise that no single indicator per se is able to comprehensively monitor human impact on the environment, but indicators rather need to be used and interpreted jointly. A description of the research question, rationale and methodology of the Ecological, Carbon and Water Footprint is first provided. Similarities and differences among the three indicators are then highlighted to show how these indicators overlap, interact, and complement each other. The paper concludes by defining the "Footprint Family" of indicators and outlining its appropriate policy use for the European Union (EU). We believe this paper can be of high interest for both policy makers and researchers in the field of ecological indicators, as it brings clarity on most of the misconceptions and misunderstanding around Footprint indicators, their accounting frameworks, messages, and range of application. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Wiebe K.S.,Institute of Economic Structures Research GWSmbH | Wiebe K.S.,Maastricht University | Bruckner M.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI | Giljum S.,Sustainable Resource Use Research Group | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Industrial Ecology | Year: 2012

Production in emerging economies, such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and Argentina (BRICSA), increased substantially over the past two decades. This is, on the one hand, due to growing domestic demand within these countries, and, on the other hand, due to a deepened international division of work. Global trade linkages have become denser and production chains are no longer restricted to only one or two countries. The volume of international trade in intermediate inputs as well as final consumption goods has tripled in the past two decades. With this, carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions and materials embodied in traded goods have increased, making it increasingly difficult to identify the actual causes of emissions and material extractions, as producing and extracting countries are not necessarily consuming the resulting goods. Using the multiregional input-output Global Resource Accounting Model (GRAM), this article shows how global carbon emissions and materials requirements are allocated from producing/extracting countries to consuming countries. It thereby contributes to the rapidly growing body of literature on environmental factors embodied in international trade by bringing two key environmental categories-CO 2 emissions and materials-into one consistent and global framework of analysis for the first time. The results show that part of the increase in carbon emissions and materials extraction in BRICSA is caused by increasing amounts of trade with countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as well as a growing demand for goods and services produced within BRICSA. © 2012 by Yale University.


Wiedmann T.,CSIRO | Wiedmann T.,Center for Sustainability Accounting Ltd. | Wiedmann T.,University of Sydney | Wilting H.C.,PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | And 3 more authors.
Ecological Economics | Year: 2011

In order to understand wider sustainability impacts of consumption and to successfully promote and implement sustainable consumption and production policies, there is a need to capture the whole life-cycle impact of products and services across international supply chains. Multi-region input-output (MRIO) databases are a well described and suitable foundation for global sustainability analyses addressing a wide range of policy and research questions. In this paper we reflect on the reasons for the recent boom in MRIO compilation, summarise the current state of development and discuss future options for MRIO analysis. We list in detail the requirements for efficient and effective MRIO research and propose systemic and institutional changes. We deliberately try to go beyond existing ambitions for MRIO compilation and thus intend to stimulate discussion and to lay out the options for the future of MRIO research. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Giljum S.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI | Burger E.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI | Hinterberger F.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI | Lutter S.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI | Bruckner M.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI
Resources, Conservation and Recycling | Year: 2011

Many of today's most urgent environmental problems arise from increasing volumes of worldwide production and consumption and the associated use of natural resources, including renewable and non-renewable raw materials, energy, water and land. Solid indicators to measure different dimensions of anthropogenic resource use are essential for designing appropriate policy measures for a sustainable management of these resources. Based on a brief review of the current state of the art of resource use indicators, this paper suggests a new set of complementary resource use indicators, combining existing measures for resource use. The suggested indicator set covers the core resource input categories of materials, water and land area and includes the output category of greenhouse gas emissions. This set can be applied consistently from the micro level of products and companies up to the macro level of countries and world regions. All suggested indicators take a life-cycle wide perspective on production and consumption activities. This set of indicators deals with the issue of the overall scale of the human production and consumption system. It can be regarded as the general indicator framework, based on which more specific indicators, for example, on different environmental impacts related to natural resource use, can be calculated. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Spangenberg J.H.,Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI
Environmental Policy and Governance | Year: 2010

In 2005 the EU Environment Directorate initiated the production of a guidebook for peer reviews of national sustainable development strategies (NSDSs), which was published in 2006. Its objective is to support EU member states planning to evaluate their respective NSDS, supporting and stimulating all potential participants. It describes how to initiate, start, lead and conclude an evaluation process, and suggests, based on European experiences, a spectrum of methods available for this purpose. During a Commissionsponsored trial period, 2006/2007, the Netherlands was the only country to make use of this offer. However, the renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EUSDS) calls for regular (peer) reviews of NSDS. Using this specific review instrument is recommended as part of a mutual learning exercise, which might stimulate a self-organized convergence of NSDSs, and better vertical integration, without establishing new competences and mechanisms on the EU level. Two new elements are suggested, a simple 'pressure-policy matrix' (PPM), supporting comprehensiveness control, and the possibility of patchwork evaluations, based on the systematique of the matrix. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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