Material cycles has grown increasingly complex throughout the years, fuelled by globalization, changing demographics, technology, environmental concerns and our political environment. Our supply chains have increased in complexity together with the increased material complexity of our products. This has further led to an increased dependency on mineral raw materials within the European economy.
If we are to be able to solve many of today’s large challenges, we need to be able to restructure the physical economy (PE). Enabling this task requires that we are able to systematically monitor the physical economy. Currently, we are focusing on the monitoring of the monetary economy and our understanding physical stocks and flows that constitutes our physical economy is limited.
The MinFuture project has developed a framework that provides a proof of concept for robust monitoring of the physical economy in four dimensions (1) Stages, (2) International trade, (3) Layers and (4) Time. Together with recommendations for the monitoring of the physical economy, see deliverable 5.1 and 5.3.
The framework contains seven components that forms a pyramid, see Figure 1. Systems forms the foundation of this pyramid and together with data these two components provides the necessary basis to go further up the pyramid. As Systems and data forms the foundation, they are particularly important if we aim to have robust models, scenarios, visualisations and indicators that can be used for policy and decision support.
Currently, we are limited by a poor system understanding and limited data availability, this is especially the case for the raw materials on the critical raw materials list (European Commission 2017). The publicly available data is highly fragmented not harmonised and only allows certain areas of the physical economy to be monitored and not the whole system.
The objective of this report is to emphasize the importance of putting raw materials data into a system context and demonstrate how statistical data with a system context adds information. The layout of the report is as follows, we will first go through the challenges, interventions and dimension then we will look more in detail into systems and data. The report finishes with the key monitoring principles that show the importance of providing a system context to the data.