To represent the two indicators DMI and DMC, areal data are often used as reference (in addition to population figures) when making comparisons at European level. This is because environmental pressures in individual countries are highly dependent on population density. In countries with a high population density and low per capita material consumption there is more intensive use in relation to the surface space available and thus more pressure on the environment. By contrast, per capita consumption is normally higher in less densely populated countries, but pressure on the environment is less intense.
Global demand for materials
Imports and exports are playing an increasingly important role in material consumption.
To fully present resource demand in Austria, the global demand for materials, associated with consumption on the one hand and exported goods on the other, would have to be considered as well.
For each manufacturing process many materials are needed which are not directly contained in the products themselves but consumed during the manufacturing process abroad. Approaches that account for such upstream flows (raw material equivalents, RME) have already been developed at national and international level.
On behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Austria, as one of first countries within the EU, has established a time series for RMEs that enables the calculation and analysis of the total amounts of material resources used between 1995 and 2007.
Compatibility with the system of national accounts
Adapting the system boundaries of material flow accounting to those of the national accounts makes it possible to link material flows to economic data. Data organisation is compatible with ÖNACE and NAMEA and can therefore be integrated into the system of national accounts and other established environmental reporting systems. Important points of the accounting method have been agreed at international level.
Material flow accounts can be drawn up at different levels, e.g. for individual companies, economic sectors, regions, national states or at the global level. At each of these levels the total amounts of materials that a system takes up, uses internally or releases again within a given period of time are accounted for.
Material flow accounts for Austria have been established as a time series from 1960. They are updated with the latest data by Statistics Austria every year.
At European level a time series for the EU-15 has been provided from 1970 and for the EU-27 from 2000.