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.