Quotation Lutter, Franz Stephan, Giljum, Stefan, Bruckner, Martin. 2016. A review and comparative assessment of existing approaches to calculate material footprints. Ecological Economics, 127, 1-10.




Effective implementation of resource policies requires consistent and robust indicators. An increasing number of national and international strategies focussing on resource efficiency as a means for reaching a green economy call for such indicators. As supply chains of goods and services are increasingly organised on the global level, comprehensive indica-tors taking into account upstream material flows associated with internationally traded products need to be compiled. Particularly in the last few years, the development of con-sumption-based indicators of material use also termed material footprints has made considerable progress. This paper presents a comprehensive review of existing methodol-ogies to calculate material footprint-type indicators. The three prevailing approaches, i.e. environmentally extended input-output analysis (EE-IOA), coefficient approaches based on process analysis data, and hybrid approaches combing elements of EE-IOA and process analysis are presented, existing models using the different approaches discussed, and advantages and disadvantages of each approach identified. We argue that there is still a strong need for improvement of the specific approaches as well as comparability of re-sults, in order to reduce uncertainties. The paper concludes with recommendations for further development covering methodological, data and institutional aspects.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Ecological Economics
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, STRAT-B, VW-C, WH-B
Language English
Title A review and comparative assessment of existing approaches to calculate material footprints
Volume 127
Year 2016
Page from 1
Page to 10
Reviewed? Y
URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800916303299
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.03.012
Open Access Y


Lutter, Franz Stephan (Details)
Giljum, Stefan (Details)
Bruckner, Martin (Details)
Institute for Ecological Economics IN (Details)
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