“Material footprint” refers to the total amount of raw materials extracted to meet final consumption demands. It is one indication of the pressures placed on the environment to support economic growth and to satisfy the material needs of people. The global material footprint rose from 43 billion metric tons in 1990 to 54 billion in 2000, and 92 billion in 2017—an increase of 70 per cent since 2000, and 113 per cent since 1990.
What’s more, the global material footprint is increasing at a faster rate than both population and economic output. In other words, at the global level, there has been no decoupling of material footprint growth from either population growth or GDP growth. It is imperative that we reverse that trend.