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Resources 2013, 2(3), 151-166; doi:10.3390/resources2030151

Identifying Key Sectors and Measures for a Transition towards a Low Resource Economy

1
Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. Box 140, 00251 Helsinki, Finland
2
Thule Institute, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 7300, Oulu 90014, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 May 2013 / Revised: 10 June 2013 / Accepted: 25 June 2013 / Published: 8 July 2013
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Abstract

A transition towards a low resource economy is unavoidable. This can be concluded from numerous initiatives which have been introduced recently. Methodologies and indicators are required in order to better assess the possibilities and challenges related to a transition towards a low resource economy. One of these is economy-wide material flow analysis (MFA). When MFA is connected to national economics accounts it enables the input-output analysis (IOA) of the economic structures causing material flows. In this study we used IO modelling and total flow analysis to identify industrial sectors with the highest material flows in Finland. The analysis exposed that in Finland most resource consumption is caused by the export industry, of which material intensity is low and does not produce significant value added, whereas the domestic construction sector, with notable resource flows, produces significant value added. A low resource economy requires significant and radical change in socio-technological systems and people’s mindsets. Due to the complexity of society and the diversity of the economy different types of measures are needed in order to achieve the change. We suggest some measures related to regulations, eco-design, material recycling and welfare for production, investments, services and individual consumption, for example. In the future, the transition towards a low resource economy needs radical changes, more innovations, policy support and actions on all societal levels.
Keywords: material flow/material flows; natural resources; environmentally extended input-output models; green economy; systems transition; industrial sectors; Finland material flow/material flows; natural resources; environmentally extended input-output models; green economy; systems transition; industrial sectors; Finland
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Koskela, S.; Mattila, T.; Antikainen, R.; Mäenpää, I. Identifying Key Sectors and Measures for a Transition towards a Low Resource Economy. Resources 2013, 2, 151-166.

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