Material footprint of consumer goods

The material footprint describes the raw materials needed directly and indirectly, through domestic and foreign supply chains, for final consumption within the domain of consumer goods.

4 t/cap.

This includes e.g. household appliances, clothing and footwear, and home maintenance.

What do we see? 

In 2021, the household decoration, appliances and daily maintenance category accounts for about a quarter of the footprint, with a value of 1.1 tonnes per capita. Clothing and footwear have a 16% share, with a value of 0.66 tonnes per capita. The total footprint fluctuates greatly over the years; per capita this value hovers around 4 tonnes per capita.

What’s the aim?

The material footprint ideally captures the consumption of materials inside and outside Flanders for fulfilling needs in a number of areas such as clothing and footwear, decoration, household appliances, communications and the like. Associated with this consumption are environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions or emissions related to waste. The Flemish Government has adopted an overarching target for the total materials footprint: it should be reduced by 30% by 2030 and 75% by 2050.

What does this indicator measure?

The figures show the direct and indirect material consumption linked to consumption within Flanders within the areas of clothing and footwear, decoration, household appliances, daily maintenance of the home, communication and miscellaneous goods and services. The figures were obtained through a methodology based on input-output analysis. Based on the interregional model for the data year 2015, a time series was modelled for several more recent years, using annual statistics on the Flemish and Belgian economies. In this way, it is possible to analyse a macroeconomic time series of the materials footprint and break down the total footprint according to consumption domains and activities. The methodology is different from the one used to calculate the RMC.

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