At a glance
- The total raw material productivity grew by 35 % between 2000 and 2016.
- According to the German government, an average growth of 1.6 % of total raw material productivity must be achieved between 2010 and 2030.
- Since 2010, the average annual growth rate of 2.4 % has exceeded this target.
- The indicator also includes raw materials needed for the production of imported goods.
Primary raw materials are obtained mainly from mining but also in forestry and agriculture. Some of these economic activities have huge environmental impacts. An aim of environmental policy is therefore to ensure that the national economy uses raw materials as efficiently as possible. In order to measure this development, the indicator ‘Total raw material productivity’ relates economic activity to the utilisation of raw materials.
However, Germany imports and exports mainly processed goods and finished products. The indicator ‘Primary raw material inputs’ reflects the extent to which primary raw materials are actually used. It is based on raw material equivalents. It therefore includes the total weight of primary raw materials which were required to produce the goods made in Germany or imported to Germany. To calculate the total raw material productivity, the use of primary raw materials is related to the total value added created with these raw materials, i.e. the sum of the gross domestic product (GDP) and the value of imports.
Assessing the development
Total raw material productivity in Germany increased by 35 % between 2000 and 2016. The main reason for this was the significant growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and import values. At the same time the use of primary raw materials largely stagnated. Even though the decoupling of these factors is positive, the use of raw materials for domestic consumption and investments is still too high (cf. indicator ‘Raw material consumption’).
In the new edition of the German Sustainability Strategy of 2016, the German Government has set a new goal for the further growth of raw material productivity: Between 2010 and 2030, the value is expected to increase by an average of roughly 1.6 % per year, which was the average annual increase between 2000 and 2010 (BReg 2016). Between 2010 and 2016 there was an increase by about 15 %. The average annual increase during that period was about 2.4 %.
In the German Resource Efficiency Programme III (ProgRess III) records a large number of measures for the years from 2020 onwards to increase the productivity of raw materials (BMU 2020). As new topics, resource-efficient mobility and the potentials and risks of digitalization for resource efficiency are now being considered in ProgRess III.
The total raw material productivity results from the ratio of two variables: The numerator is formed from the sum of gross domestic product and the monetary value of German imports. This figure is prepared by the national accounts of the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. The denominator contains the information on the primary raw material input in Germany from production and imports in tonnes. The process for determining the indirect imports (‘raw material equivalents’) is described in a research report (UBA 2016, in German only).
More detailed information: 'Rohstoffproduktivität' (in German only).