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Published: 15 November 2011

Material requirement on the increase in the wake of economic recession

Corrected on 28 March 2012. The correction is indicated in red. Was previously 100 million tonnes.

Total material requirement in Finland's economy amounted to 537 million tonnes in 2010. This equals just over 100 tonnes per capita. Total material requirement is the sum of domestic and foreign direct inputs and hidden flows. In 2010, total material requirement turned into sharp growth from the year before. Use of wood and minerals increased most, both by 25 per cent. By contrast, the used amount of plants decreased by 14 per cent, mainly due to diminished grain crop.

Total material requirement by material groups 1970–2010

Total material requirement by material groups 1970–2010

These are the first economy-wide material flow accounts data released by Statistics Finland. The time series of these data (from 1970 and 2009) were previously compiled by the Thule Institute of the University of Oulu. The accounts form part of environmental accounts, on which the European Union passed a regulation this year.

The trend in total material requirement showed a clear decline after the oil crisis of the mid-1970s, through the early part of the 1990s and in the year 2009. In spite of these temporary drops, total material requirement has almost doubled from 1970 to 2010. By international comparison, Finland's total material requirement per capita is notably high.

The impact of Finland's economy on the material requirement of other countries has also grown strongly. In four decades, direct inputs of imports have grown 2.3-fold and hidden flows of imports 3.5-fold.

The material intensity of Finland's economy, or the amount of used material relative to GDP, was the lowest, i.e. the most efficient, in 2009. The intensity weakened clearly in 2010.

Material intensity of Finland's economy 1970-2010

Material intensity of Finland's economy 1970-2010

Source: Economy-wide material flow accounts 2010, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Jukka Muukkonen (09) 1734 3224, Simo Vahvelainen (09) 1734 3457, Leo Kolttola (09) 1734 3234,

Director in charge: Leena Storgårds

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Appendix tables

Updated 15.11.2011

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Economy-wide material flow accounts [e-publication].
ISSN=2242-1289. 2010. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 3.3.2024].
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