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Strategy and decision support

Material flow analysis comprise a powerful tool for assisting decision making at different levels (e.g. corporate, national ,regional level) and for addressing different needs (e.g. criticality and supply disruption, environmental implications, resource efficiency, forecast scenarios, system optimisation). Its usefulness (able to address different needs) and flexibility (e.g. temporal, spatial variation is possible) suggests that it can greatly enhance the work of decision makers. However, several challenges exist that need to be addressed to enable the successful use of MFA in decision making.

Challenges for the uptake of the common MFA methodology:

  1. Data challenges (also discussed under data & systems)
  2. Lack of financial resources for the uptake of the common MFA methodology
  3. Skills, expertise and education support
  4. Poor understanding of the benefits of MFA
  5. Engagement at global level is complicated
  6. No long term push or pull actions to support the integration of MFA approaches in decision making.

The common MFA methodology will demonstrate the benefits of the approach followed and identify potential areas for implementation. Engagement with decision makers will take place to gather their views for the support they are seeking from the proposed MFA framework, but also for informing them of areas of concern and challenges that require strategy or policy interventions. The development of specific case studies on the material use in low-carbon technologies will provide examples of the support that the proposed framework can provide to decision making.

The provision of recommendations to address the aforementioned challenges, but also to support the uptake of the common MFA methodology will be provided in the MinFuture roadmap.

The figure shows a snapshot of the cover page of the synthesis brief
MinFuture Workshop synthesis brief No. 3

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.

Impression from the third MinFuture workshop in Brussels, showing the participants listening to an input presentation

The purpose of this workshop was to further develop the roadmap for monitoring the physical economy. During the spring of 2018, the MinFuture project has held several commodity specific workshops to test the developed framework and to identify commodity specific trends, opportunities and challenges that can inform the MinFuture roadmap.  Workshops has been held on aluminium, cobalt, neodymium, platinum, phosphorus and construction aggregates, and stakeholders from different parts of the supply chain has contributed to it.

Twenty tons of gold is lost from Europe's vehicle fleet each year.

Vast quantities of scarce metals are being lost each year from Europe's urban mine of vehicles, batteries, mobile phones and electronic gadgets. To address this problem, the European research project ProSUM has compiled a new database that charts the metals in order to facilitate recycling.


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?
Group photo of the participants of the 2nd MinFuture workshop

The purpose of this workshop was to initiate a dialogue with key stakeholders that report raw materials data, use data to develop MFA models, or use MFA models to inform decision making. The knowledge and needs of data providers, users and decision actors are different, but in order for a ‘common approach’ to be developed their input is required.


Leaders and other change agents from government, business, research and NGOs will talk about how to accelerate the Resource Revolution. The World Resource Forum (WRF) 2017 is open to key stakeholders and offers first-hand information about emerging issues, global trends, progress and innovation in resources and raw materials management.

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