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Economy-wide material flow accounts

Producer: Statistics Finland
Homepage: http://
Main topic: Environment and Natural Resources
Related topics:
Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Yes
European Statistical System (ESS): Yes


Economy-wide material flow accounts describe in units of mass (tonnes) the volume of materials extracted, transferred or transformed from nature. This volume of materials and its ratio to other National Accounts aggregates describes the material dependency of the national economy and the pressures economic activities impose on the environment. The main interest lies in the development of the ratio between GDP and the volume of materials required to generate it. Economy-wide material flow accounts sum up the flows of used materials, such as stone, oil and wood. However, due to the summing up, the total figures of the material flow accounts do not describe direct the weight and nature of the environmental burden caused by economic transactions.

The economy-wide material flow accounts form part of environmental accounts. The ultimate goal of environmental accounts is to describe the interaction between the environment and the economy by mainly using the same basic concepts and classifications as National Accounts.

The European Union's regulation concerning environmental accounts (No. 691/2011) obliges the Member States to compile an annual report on their economy-wide material flow accounts; for the first time in 2013 and starting from statistical reference year 2008. In the UN's System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) the accounts form part of the description of physical flows in the national economy.

Data content

The accounts comprise data on domestic and foreign material inputs into Finland's economy, on domestic and foreign hidden flows as well as on materials export. Domestic direct inputs refer to materials extracted from domestic nature for further processing in the economy. Examples of these would be wood and minerals used as raw materials, earth materials used in construction, and plants and wild animals used as food for animals and humans. Foreign direct inputs comprise imports of processed and raw materials. Correspondingly, exports comprise of raw and processed materials exported abroad.

Domestic hidden flows refer to the transfers and transformations of natural materials that are made in connection with their extraction from nature or with construction. Examples of these would be logging waste left in forests, and wall rock of ore mines. Hidden flows of imports are comprised of the direct inputs and hidden flows which are used abroad to produce imported goods but which do not show in the weight of imported raw materials or products.

The total material requirement calculated from these accounts is the sum of domestic and foreign direct inputs and hidden flows. Direct inputs represent the actual volume of material entering the Finnish economy and, together with domestic hidden flows, the material volume behind the burdening of the domestic environment. The total material requirement of our economy is obtained by adding to this the hidden flows of imports, i.e. the global ecological environmental burdening of our economy.

Classifications used

CPA and the Finnish National Accounts product classification based on it

Data collection methods and data sources

The information is gathered from the statistics of the Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (TIKE), the Finnish Forest Research Institute (METLA), the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute and Finnish Customs, as well as from the data of the Finnish Environment Institute, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Claim Registry.

Updating frequency


Time of completion or release


Time series

Data starting from 1970


Contact information

Last updated 14.06.2018