The UNEP IRP Global Material Flows Database reports extraction and direct trade of raw materials, indirect trade flows (including material footprints), as well as intensities derived from these material measures at global, regional and national level.

Now, it also includes data on waste, excavated earthen materials and manufactured materials. In addition, the time series has been extended by 2 years and now covers the period 1970-2019. The geographic coverage has also been increased to include more than 200 countries, reflecting the geopolitical developments of the past 50 years. This has been made possible through the development of more detailed material flow accounts, methodological improvements and a broader sourcing of more detailed data.

The UNEP IRP Global Material Flows Database helps governments, policy researchers and interested stakeholders understand and trace the linkages between economic growth and raw material usage. Such information is essential for the development of effectively targeted sustainable consumption and production strategies. It also builds a strong quantitative basis upon which the success or failure of those strategies in lowering resources use can subsequently be assessed. 

The database provides the information to report on Sustainable Development Goals 8.4 (“Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavor to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation”) and 12.2 (“By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources”).

The database is based on authoritative, publicly accessible international data sources wherever possible, combined with the most recent methodologies for establishing material flow accounts.