Background

Ever increasing use of natural resources is pushing the boundaries of global ecosystems. In the last 30 years, global resource extraction has doubled to approximately 70 billion tons per year. Already today, this substantially exceeds the regenerative capacity of our planet and could threaten the survival of future generations. In light of this, there is an urgent need to develop new strategies and policy options for global resource use within ‘planetary boundaries’, and finding ways to introduce these ideas into international policy processes.

The following figure shows the growing global material consumption since 1980 (Source: SERI).

 

Global material extraction growth (Source: Graphics by SERI, 2014)