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Open AccessArticle

Possible Target Corridor for Sustainable Use of Global Material Resources

1
Wuppertal Institute, P.B. 100480, Wuppertal 42004, Germany
2
Center for Environmental Systems Research, University of Kassel, Wilhelmshöher Allee 47, Kassel 34109, Germany
Academic Editor: Richard Kazmierczak
Resources 2015, 4(1), 25-54; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources4010025
Received: 9 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 February 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
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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Bringezu, S. Possible Target Corridor for Sustainable Use of Global Material Resources. Resources 2015, 4, 25-54.

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