Total consumption of natural resources

Updated: 17 Nov 2017
Next update: 15 Nov 2018

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.


Mining and quarrying boosted the material flow

In 2016, altogether 317 million tonnes of materials were extracted from the soil and vegetation of Finland, which is 34 million tonnes more than in 2015. The growth in the material flow was based on the increased excavation volume in mining and quarrying and growth in unused extraction. The use of domestic direct inputs remained almost at the same level as in 2015. In addition, some 57 million tonnes of products and raw materials were imported to Finland in 2016, which generated an estimated 211 million tonnes of hidden flows for the production countries. All in all, the Finnish total material requirement was 585 million tonnes in 2016, which was 8.5 per cent more than in the previous year.

In the 2000s, the decrease in the material intensity of Finland's economy has slowed down, which means that material productivity is growing more slowly than in previous decades. In the 2000s, around 1.2 kg of direct inputs has been required to produce one euro, while in the 1970s the requirement was close on two kg.