Resource indicators

Why is the resource evaluation important?

Natural resources are the global natural capital and the basis of all economic activity. Therefore, daily living requirements cannot be provided nor well-being established without natural resources.

As the use of global resources has developed at a pace that cannot be permanently sustained without impairing the prospects of future generations in terms of economic well-being and social cohesion, a more protective and efficient handling of natural resources will be a key competence in future-proof societies. For this reason, the aspect of resource efficiency has become part of the political agenda both at EU level and in Germany. Through the addition of input-related resource considerations to supplement an emissions-based environmental evaluation, economic policy targets regarding supply security can also be taken into account alongside sustainability targets.

What does the resource concept include and what is taken into account in the evaluation?

The resource concept is limited to natural resources. They are defined as “components of nature” and include:

  • Renewable and non-renewable raw materials
  • Physical space (land)
  • Environmental media (water, soil, air)
  • Flowing resources (geothermal energy, wind, waves, solar radiation)
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem services.

Utilisation of these resources arises through extraction (source) and use for processes or activities and also through absorption of emissions (sink) that are caused by processes/activities. The environmental evaluation primarily records the impact on environmental media, i.e. the sinks for emissions. A resource evaluation facilitates the inclusion of the effect of the extraction and use of resources such as raw materials, energy, land and water.

The following viewpoints/indicators are included in the resource evaluation:

  • The use of raw materials and energy based on the indicators of the cumulative raw material demand (CRD) (total raw material demand (incl. generation) in kg) and cumulative energy demand (CED) (total energy consumption in joules) with the objective of increasing efficiency
  • The utilisation of fresh water (excluding cooling water) and land use per area (in m²*a) with the combined objective of “efficient use” and “avoidance”
  • The investigation of economic criticality of the raw materials required in electric vehicles (as a conflation of the criticality indicators for Germany and the EU)