OECD: Raw materials use to double by 2060

Source: OECD Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060
23.10.2018 − 

Global consumption of raw materials will almost double by 2060 due to the expanding global economy, population growth and rising living standards. According to the "Global Material Resource Outlook to 2060" published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), raw materials consumption is expected to rise from the current level of 90 gigatonnes per year to 167 gigatonnes. In the same period, the world population will rise to ten billion and the average global per capita income will approach the current OECD average of $40,000.

The increase in resource consumption is occurring even as economies shift away from manufacturing and towards the service sector and despite continuous improvements in manufacturing efficiency. Without improved manufacturing efficiency, which reduces resource consumption in relation to GDP, the environmental impact would be even greater. The OECD noted that its forecast also takes into account the flattening of demand in demand in China and other emerging markets as the rate of infrastructure expansion there slows.

Without concrete action to address these challenges, the projected increase in the extraction and processing of raw materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and non-metallic minerals is likely to intensify air, water and soil pollution and contribute significantly to climate change, says the OECD.

The organisation expects that the recycling industry is likely to become more competitive and grow, but it will remain a much smaller industry than mining primary materials. The OECD puts the recycling industry's current size at a tenth of the mining sector in terms of GDP share. 

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