Indicator: Raw material productivity

A graph shows the total raw material productivity plus the primary raw material inputs and the sum of gross domestic product and imports from 2000 to 2011 (2000 = 100). The target values for 2020 and 2030 are shown.Click to enlarge
Total raw material productivity
Source: Federal Statistical Office of Germany / German Environment Agency Figure as PDF

Table of Contents


At a glance

  • Total raw material productivity rose by almost 20 % between 2000 and 2011.
  • The indicator considers also the raw materials which were required for manufacturing imported goods.
  • The aim is to increase productivity by almost 60 % by 2030 compared to 2000.

Environmental importance

Primary raw materials are obtained mainly from mining but also forestry and agriculture. Some of these economic activities have huge environmental impacts. The 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 ‘Total raw material productivity’ indicator relates economic activity to the utilisation of raw materials.

However, Germany imports and exports mainly manufactured and finished products. The indicator ‘Primary raw material inputs’ reflects the amount of primary raw materials actually used. It is based on raw material equivalents. It therefore includes the total weight of primary raw materials which were required to manufacture the goods produced by the German economy or imported into it. To calculate raw material productivity, the primary raw material input is compared to the total value added produced using these raw materials, in other words, to the sum of gross domestic product and the value of the imports.


Assessing the development

Between 2000 and 2011 total raw material productivity increased in Germany by 19.6 %. This was primarily due to a growth of over 25 % in the GDP and the value of imports. At the same time, only 5 % more primary raw materials were used in 2011 than in 2000. Even if this decoupling of the variables is to be viewed as positive, the absolute level of raw material inputs is still too high (cf. ‘Raw material consumption’ indicator).

The crisis year of 2009 was an exception. The use of primary raw materials fell even more than GDP. In 2010 the variables were once more at the same values as 2008. Total raw material productivity increased by 1.57 % annually between 2000 and 2010.

In the German Resource Efficiency Programme II (ProgRess II) approved in 2015, the Federal Government announced its target of continuing this growth rate up to 2030 (BMUB 2016). This gives a target value of 159.4 for 2030. But this target is a long way off. ProgRess II lists a wide range of measures for the period from 2016 to 2019. ProgRess will need to be further developed for the period following this. The ProgRess II target was also incorporated in the German Sustainable Development Strategy (Federal Government 2016).



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 value of German imports. This figure is prepared by the national accounts of the Federal Statistical Office of Germany (StBA). 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).