International Trade in Resources

A Biophysical Assessment

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Tasked with building and sharing knowledge on how to improve management of the world’s resources, UNEP’s International Resource Panel (IRP) turns its attention to the world trading system and its implications for global resource efficiency. In this report entitled “International Trade in Resources: A biophysical assessment”, the IRP examines how efficient the current system of world trade is in distributing resources from the geographical locations of supply to the locations of demand. By examining trade from a biophysical (versus an economic) viewpoint, the authors of the report seek to assess whether or not trade allows commodities to be obtained from countries where their production requires fewer resources and generates a smaller amount of wastes and emissions.




This report has been produced for the UNEP-hosted International Resource Panel (IRP). It is the result of the efforts of several expert members of the IRP as well as external expertise. We thank the key authors of the report: Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Monika Dittrich, and Nina Eisenmenger. We would also like to thank the following for their valuable contributions: Paul Ekins, Julian Fulton, Thomas Kastner, Karin Hosking, Heinz Schandl, Jim West, and Thomas O. Wiedmann.


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