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The Material Stock–Flow–Service Nexus: A New Approach for Tackling the Decoupling Conundrum

Institute of Social Ecology, Alpen-Adria Universitaet Klagenfurt, Wien, Graz, Schottenfeldgasse 29, Vienna 1070, Austria
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Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071049
Received: 6 February 2017 / Revised: 12 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Ecology. State of the Art and Future Prospects)
Fundamental changes in the societal use of biophysical resources are required for a sustainability transformation. Current socioeconomic metabolism research traces flows of energy, materials or substances to capture resource use: input of raw materials or energy, their fate in production and consumption, and the discharge of wastes and emissions. This approach has yielded important insights into eco-efficiency and long-term drivers of resource use. But socio-metabolic research has not yet fully incorporated material stocks or their services, hence not completely exploiting the analytic power of the metabolism concept. This commentary argues for a material stock–flow–service nexus approach focused on the analysis of interrelations between material and energy flows, socioeconomic material stocks (“in-use stocks of materials”) and the services provided by specific stock/flow combinations. Analyzing the interrelations between stocks, flows and services will allow researchers to develop highly innovative indicators of eco-efficiency and open new research directions that will help to better understand biophysical foundations of transformations towards sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: socioeconomic metabolism; economy-wide material flow analysis; in-use stocks of materials; stock-flow relations; dynamic stock model; decoupling; socioecological transformation socioeconomic metabolism; economy-wide material flow analysis; in-use stocks of materials; stock-flow relations; dynamic stock model; decoupling; socioecological transformation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Haberl, H.; Wiedenhofer, D.; Erb, K.-H.; Görg, C.; Krausmann, F. The Material Stock–Flow–Service Nexus: A New Approach for Tackling the Decoupling Conundrum. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1049. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071049

AMA Style

Haberl H, Wiedenhofer D, Erb K-H, Görg C, Krausmann F. The Material Stock–Flow–Service Nexus: A New Approach for Tackling the Decoupling Conundrum. Sustainability. 2017; 9(7):1049. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071049

Chicago/Turabian Style

Haberl, Helmut; Wiedenhofer, Dominik; Erb, Karl-Heinz; Görg, Christoph; Krausmann, Fridolin. 2017. "The Material Stock–Flow–Service Nexus: A New Approach for Tackling the Decoupling Conundrum" Sustainability 9, no. 7: 1049. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071049

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