The findings, launched today during Green Week in Brussels, underline the challenge facing the European Union under its recently adopted Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources under the 6th Environmental Action Program.
The report shows that on average the annual per capita consumption of natural resources – known as the ‘metabolic rate’- in Europe is around 13 tons per person.
However, for some countries such as Finland the metabolic rate is closer to 20 tons, or around six tons per person, higher than countries such as Germany or Austria with comparable incomes.
Many of the recent members to the EU also show relatively high rates of natural resource consumption, despite having far lower per capita incomes, for example Hungary and Poland.
The findings are contained in a report by the UNEP-hosted International Resource Panel entitled Decoupling: Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth. Download the UNEP report