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Resources 2015, 4(1), 25-54; doi:10.3390/resources4010025

Possible Target Corridor for Sustainable Use of Global Material Resources

Wuppertal Institute, P.B. 100480, Wuppertal 42004, Germany
Center for Environmental Systems Research, University of Kassel, Wilhelmshöher Allee 47, Kassel 34109, Germany
Academic Editor: Richard Kazmierczak
Received: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 February 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
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Many countries have started to develop policy programs for the sustainable use of natural resources. Indicators and targets can cover both a territorial and a life-cycle-wide global perspective. This article focuses on how a safe operating space for global material resource use can be outlined based on existing economy-wide material flow indicators. It reflects on issues such as scale and systems perspective, as the choice of indicators determines the target “valves” of the socio-industrial metabolism. It considers environmental pressures and social aspects of safe and fair resource use. Existing proposals for resource consumption targets are reviewed, partially revisited, and taken as a basis to outline potential target values for a safe operating space for the extraction and use of minerals and biomass by final consumption. A potential sustainability corridor is derived with the Total Material Consumption of abiotic resources ranging from 6 to 12 t/person, the Total Material Consumption of biotic resources not exceeding 2 t/person, and the Raw Material Consumption of used biotic and abiotic materials ranging from 3 to 6 t/person until 2050. For policy, a “10-2-5 target triplet” can provide orientation, when the three indicators are assigned values of 10, 2, and 5 t/person, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: material footprint; safe operating space; resource efficiency; resource consumption; indicators; resource policy material footprint; safe operating space; resource efficiency; resource consumption; indicators; resource policy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Bringezu, S. Possible Target Corridor for Sustainable Use of Global Material Resources. Resources 2015, 4, 25-54.

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