Total consumption of natural resources

Updated: 3 Dec 2020
Next update: 18 Nov 2021

The accounts comprise data on domestic and foreign material inputs into Finland's economy, on domestic and foreign hidden flows as well as on materials export.

Domestic direct inputs refer to materials extracted from domestic nature for further processing in the economy. Examples of these would be wood and minerals used as raw materials, earth materials used in construction, and plants and wild animals used as food for animals and humans.

Foreign direct inputs comprise imports of processed and raw materials. Correspondingly, exports comprise of raw and processed materials exported abroad.

Domestic hidden flows refer to the transfers and transformations of natural materials that are made in connection with their extraction from nature or with construction. Examples of these would be logging waste left in forests, and wall rock of ore mines. Hidden flows of imports are comprised of the direct inputs and hidden flows which are used abroad to produce imported goods but which do not show in the weight of imported raw materials or products.

The total material requirement calculated from these accounts is the sum of domestic and foreign direct inputs and hidden flows. Direct inputs represent the actual volume of material entering the Finnish economy and, together with domestic hidden flows, the material volume behind the burdening of the domestic environment. The total material requirement of our economy is obtained by adding to this the hidden flows of imports, i.e. the global ecological environmental burdening of our economy.


Domestic material consumption fell by three per cent from the previous year

Altogether 178 million tonnes of natural resources were taken into use in Finland in 2019. The figure was the lowest in the 2010s, over a sixth lower than in 2013 when the figure was at its highest. Compared to the level of 2017 to 2018, the fall was considerably smaller, good one per cent.

Domestic material consumption, one indicator of sustainable development, was three per cent lower in 2019 than in 2017 to 2018. The fall was mainly due to decreased direct domestic inputs and imports, as well as a slight growth in exports. The fall was mostly due to a decrease of good five per cent in soil extraction.

Domestic material consumption is calculated by adding imports to domestic direct inputs (introduced natural resources) and by subtracting exports. Of the natural resources introduced in 2019, altogether 28 per cent were wood and other plants, 28 per cent mineral ores and 42 per cent soil materials. In imports most weight was laid on crude oil, 30 per cent and timber, 17 per cent of the total weight of imports. Of the weight of exports, oil refined products and forest industry products had the biggest shares.

Total material requirement amounted to good 600 million tonnes in 2019, which is also over five per cent lower than in the year before. In addition to domestic direct inputs and imports, total material requirement includes unused extraction related to forestry and the extractive industry, as well as hidden flows from imports. The decrease in total material requirement was particularly caused by the decrease in ore and soil extraction, the related unused extraction, and the imports of metals and metal products and their hidden flows.