Direct Material Input (DMI) of the Flemish economy

The Direct Material Input (DMI) of the Flemish economy shows the total material consumption by Flemish companies and households. It is the sum of materials that are mined in Flanders and the import of materials in production activities with a view to export. It includes all materials that enter the Flemish economy: raw materials, intermediate goods and finished products.

342.3 million tonnes

  • In 2018, domestic material extraction consisted of 69% non-metallic minerals and 31% biomass.
  • Fossil energy carriers accounted for 46% of material imports in 2018, followed by biomass (25%), non-metallic minerals (13%) and metal ores (12%).

What do we see? 

The DMI is the sum of the domestic extraction used (DEU) and imports into Flanders (IMP). Both are expressed in tonnes. In the period 2002-2018, the DEU showed a slight decline. In 2018 the DEU consisted of 69% non-metallic minerals and 31% biomass. Metal ores and fossil energy carriers do not appear in the graph because they are not mined in Flanders. The figures for 2017 and 2018 are a preliminary estimate.

In the same period, Flemish imports (IMP) grew from 233 million to 296 million tonnes. At 46%, fossil energy carriers account for the largest share of this increase, followed by biomass with a share of 25%. The amount of metal ores and non-metallic minerals in imports is much lower with a share of 12% and 13% respectively.

Between 2002 and 2018, the DMI of Flanders saw an overall increase. The decrease in domestic extraction used (DEU) was therefore cancelled out by an increase in the import of materials. In 2018 the import of materials accounted for 86.5% of the material input. Flanders is therefore particularly dependent on imports to keep the economy going.

What’s the aim?

In contrast to a linear economy, which uses resources and materials just once, a circular economy uses fewer natural resources per service and also keeps them in the cycle for longer. This means that natural resources are used up less quickly, the economy is less dependent on them, and we can maintain the balance between resource consumption and the carrying capacity of our environment. In a circular economy we therefore strive for a lower material footprint.

What does this indicator measure?

The DMI is the sum of the Domestic Extraction Used (DEU) and all imported goods (IMP). 

Direct Material Input (DMI) = Domestic Extraction Used (DEU) + Import of goods (IMP)

The DEU and the IMP are part of the economy-wide material flow accounts (EW-MFA) that each member state of the European Union has to report. As no official EW-MFA are created for country regions, these figures have to be estimated for Flanders. So the DMI includes all materials that physically enter the economic system and that are available to the domestic production system. It indicates which raw materials form the basis of our domestic economic system. The comparison between DEU and DMI illustrates how dependent we are on imports to keep our economy going.

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