Inderscience Publishers

Indicators for resources and resource-efficiency: a Danish perspective

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The specific material flows and use of energy and land, which cause severe environmental and health problems in Denmark, are delimited by a risk assessment. Resource-efficiency is defined in terms of material flows and is estimated to be 0.07 without unused flows and 0.04 with unused flows for Denmark, 1990. It is shown that the path to both a global sustainable environment and welfare goes through increasing resource-efficiency, increasing lifetime of products, detoxification, dematerialisation of welfare and increasing quality and quantity of ecosystems. An indicator system for Denmark consisting of a pyramid structured by formal indicators is proposed. At the top of the indicator pyramid are indicators for aggregated material and energy flows, almost unaffected nature and the flows of dangerous substances. The formal indicators represent flows of resources and emissions, resources and emissions related to ecological space, economic turnover and number of inhabitants as well as resource efficiency, lifetime of materials and material welfare.

Keywords: indicators, material flows, resources, resource-efficiency, sustainable development, environment, ecological space, emissions, risk assessment

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