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Towards sustainable resource management in the European Union


  • Bringezu, Stefan


A policy framework for sustainable resource management (SRM) is required bothto guarantee the materials and energy supply of the EU economy and safeguardthe natural resource basis in the future. Goals and strategies for sustaining themetabolism of the economy are described. Data are presented on the materialthroughput and physical growth of the EU's economy, on total materialrequirements (TMR), its composition, the decoupling from economic growth, andthe increased shift to other regions. A first future target Material Flow Balance (t-MFB) of the EU is outlined. Detailed data reveal the top ten resource flows.Policy design for SRM should aim at an integrated and balanced approach alongthe material flow, comprising resource extraction, the product cycle and finalwaste disposal. Strategies and potential instruments to manage fossil fuels, metalsand industrial minerals, construction minerals and excavation are discussed.Possible priorities and examples are given for target setting, focusing on limitedexpansion of built-up area, reduced use of non-renewables, increased resourceproductivity, and shift to sustainable cultivation of biomass.

Suggested Citation

  • Bringezu, Stefan, 2002. "Towards sustainable resource management in the European Union," Wuppertal Papers 121, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wuppap:121

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daly, Herman E., 1990. "Toward some operational principles of sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-6, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Winkler, Wolfgang, 2011. "Sustainable product development based on second law of thermodynamics," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(9), pages 3248-3256.
    2. Bartelmus, Peter, 2003. "Dematerialization and capital maintenance: two sides of the sustainability coin," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 61-81, August.
    3. Bringezu, Stefan & Schutz, Helmut & Steger, Soren & Baudisch, Jan, 2004. "International comparison of resource use and its relation to economic growth: The development of total material requirement, direct material inputs and hidden flows and the structure of TMR," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 97-124, November.
    4. Schütz, Helmut & Moll, Stephan & Bringezu, Stefan, 2003. "Globalisierung und die Verlagerung von Umweltbelastungen: Die Stoffströme des Handels der Europäischen Union," Wuppertal Papers 134, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
    5. Bleischwitz, Raimund, 2003. "Governance of sustainable development: Towards synergies between corporate and political governance strategies," Wuppertal Papers 132, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
    6. Bartelmus, Peter & Albert, Jörg & Tschochohei, Heinrich, 2003. "Wie teuer ist (uns) die Umwelt? Zur umweltökonomischen Gesamtrechnung in Deutschland," Wuppertal Papers 128, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.


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