The global economy is using growing amounts of natural resources such as raw materials, water, and land by making and using goods, services, and infrastructure. Aspirations on international, regional, and national levels e.g., the Sustainable Development Goals, the EU flagship initiative Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe or the German Program for Resource Efficiency are showing an urgent need to bring the global raw material use down to sustainable levels. An essential prerequisite to identify resource efficient options and to implement resource efficiency measures and solutions is the ability to compare different products or services regarding their raw material use. Until today, there is no internationally standardized approach defined and no software supported calculation method including the necessary data basis available to measure the raw material intensity of products. A new life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) method Product Material Footprint PMF is described. Two indicators are used to quantify the PMF: the Raw Material Input RMI and the Total Material Requirement TMR. The calculation of global median values for the characterization factors CFRMI
of abiotic materials was done based on different databases. This article presents the methodological approach of the PMF, the calculation results for CFRMI
of 42 abiotic materials and CFTMR
of 36 abiotic materials, and the implementation of the LCIA method into the software openLCA for use with the ecoinvent database.
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