Direct Material Input (DMI) of the Flemish economy

By Direct Material Input (DMI) we mean all materials that physically enter the Flemish economy for both domestic consumption, and production destined for export. These materials come from extractions in Flanders or are imported. Any material entering the Flemish economy is taken into account: raw materials, semi-finished 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? 

Over the period 2010 – 2021, the use of materials in the Flemish economy increased. In 2020, imports of materials experienced a temporary decline because of the COVID crisis. In 2021, imports of materials recovered.

We can see that extraction has remained more or less constant in absolute terms and thus did not increase with the DMI over the years, with a share of about 17% in 2010 falling to a level of about 15% in the most recent years. This decline is mainly due to the extraction of non-metallic minerals. Flanders is thus particularly dependent on imports to run the economy and this dependence has increased slightly. Mining in Flanders comprises one-third biomass and two-thirds sand, clay, gravel and excavated soil (non-metallic minerals). For metals and fossil energy carriers, Flanders is completely dependent on foreign countries. Fossil energy carriers make up the bulk of imports.

What’s the aim?

In a circular economy, lower consumption of materials is the target. However, a large part of materials imported into Flanders are for the production of semi-finished and finished products that are re-exported abroad. Consumption solely for Flemish consumption is calculated through the Domestic Material Consumption. Indirect consumption outside Flanders is included through Raw Material Input and Raw Material Consumption. The efficiency with which the Flemish economy handles materials is reflected through the material productivity.

What does this indicator measure?

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

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

The DMI thus includes all materials that physically enter the economic system and are available to the domestic production system. The figure indicates how many and which raw materials form the basis of our economic system. The DEU and the IMP are part of the material flow accounts (EW-MFA) that each European Union member state is required to report. The values may still change in subsequent updates due to usual adjustments in the underlying trade data. As no official EW-MFA is produced for regions within countries, these figures have to be estimated for Flanders.

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