In the era of globalisation, supply chains are increasingly international, thus disconnecting the location of production from final consumption. Consumption has developed into a major, geographically distant driver of various local environmental impacts in countries producing raw materials. Despite continuous developments, the spatial resolution of methods to assess global supply chains from raw material extraction to final demand and to calculate consumption-based (or footprint) indicators has been limited to the national level. This leads to distorted results, as the heterogeneity of environmental conditions within producing countries is not taken into account.
In this talk, Dr. Giljum will introduce novel assessment frameworks developed in the ERC-FINEPRINT project that allow quantifying material footprints and related environmental impacts on a high spatial detail. The framework includes assessments of the geographical distribution of raw material extraction in countries world-wide and linking these global extraction maps to spatially explicit data on environmental impacts, to address issues such as land use change, deforestation or water scarcity. These assessments are then connected to multi-regional input-output models, in order to trace raw material flows and related impacts along global supply chains to the country of final demand. These novel approaches improve the understanding of the relations between global drivers and local impacts in hot-spot extraction regions. The results are relevant to a wide range of policy initiatives to mitigate the environmental impacts of resource extraction and to support due diligence along supply chains.