Through the MinFuture project a framework for MFA methodology was developed.
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 report aims to address existing challenges by developing a methodological framework for the monitoring of the physical economy that facilitates the users in reflecting more systematically about the problems mentioned above and in developing more effective strategies for addressing them. The framework proposed is based on Material Flow Analysis (MFA), a tool widely used for tracking materials and energy in the economy.
Six material-specific workshop were organised under the umbrella of MinFuture project, aiming to identify gaps that hamper a robust mapping of raw material cycles. In each material-specific workshop, stakeholders from academia, industry, and government were brought together to discuss and comment on the current status of each material cycle.
The MinFuture project seeks to provide methods and guidelines for structuring MFA data, enabling a more comprehensive understanding of mineral and material systems. Visualisation is one of the key components described in the MinFuture Pyramid, while the MinFuture Core Dimensions describe four dimensions which are key to MFA studies: stages, trade, linkages, time. We add uncertainty and stocks to this list to create six core dimensions for which visualisation might be required.
Material flow analysis (MFA) in general, is a term used to summarize a wide range of approaches to describe material stocks and flows in systems defined in space and time.
In order to develop strategies as well as to define and reach goals concerning raw materials management, maps are needed to help navigate existing knowledge and data.
MinFuture is a collaborative project funded by the Horizon 2020 framework, aiming to identify, integrate, and develop expertise for global material flow analysis and scenario modelling.
The MinFuture workshop synthesis brief describes the main insights from discussions on:
- How can we add more relevance and credibility to data published on raw materials? What context is missing that might enhance their status? How could we present data using a systemic MFA? perspective
- How do raw material data reporting schemes (information flows) currently operate at national, regional and global level?
- What raw material indicators are often used to identify issues with raw material supply/ demand? What are their strengths and weaknesses and how do they relate to material flow analysis?
The brief presents key discussion items and main findings from the June 2017 Workshop in Vienna. In order to tackle challenges such as insufficient information flows or lacking data availability, a (more) systemic understanding of global mineral raw material flows is needed. Mapping the system context and making data/information gaps explicit will help identifying possible improvements.