Total consumption of natural resources 

Updated: 19.11.2015 - Next update: 17.11.2016

Soil extraction decreased in 2014

The extraction of sand, gravel and other stone from soil for building materials decreased by five to six per cent in 2014 from the previous year. The extraction of stone has fallen to 78 million tonnes, almost to the same level as in the deepest recession years of the 1990s, as shown by the statistics on economy-wide material flow accounts published by Statistics Finland.

Stone is used for the production of concrete and asphalt and for support and foundation structurers of buildings, roads and railways. Crushed rock has a share of nearly 60 per cent in total material requirement of stone. Stone has been replaced with waste material, such as scum, ash and crushed concrete, which may in part have diminished the need for stone.

The volume of quarrying in ore mines dropped by 16 per cent and the volume of ore even more than that, by over one third. In contrast, nearly the same volume of industrial minerals was recovered as in the year before. A total of 75 million tonnes of ore, useful stone and waste stone were extracted last year.

In all, 40 tonnes of wood were used as direct inputs, domestic and foreign ones combined. The figure in the early millennium was lowest in 2009, when the extraction of wood was 29 million tonnes, that is, around one quarter less than at the moment. Silage comes first in the extraction of plants and wild animals. Its annual material requirement is nearly two million tonnes. It is followed by cereal crops, barley, wheat and oat.

Each euro earned in Finland is tied to a material input of over one kg and to 3.5 kg of total extraction of natural resources. In the EU, the average material productivity is two to three-fold compared to Finland. Finland's figures of total extraction are particularly enlarged by the structure of our imports focusing on large items of raw materials and manufactured products, such as minerals, wood and building materials. Last year, the imported volume of raw materials was 33.7 million tonnes. Hidden flows of imports are very big.

Statistics Finland / Economy-wide material flow accounts

Description of indicator

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.