Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Resource conservation – Using resources economically and efficiently

Indicator 8.1: Raw material input productivity

(Evaluation of the year 2016 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)


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This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The indicator for raw material input productivity relates the value of all goods released for final use (in EUR, price-adjusted) to the mass of the raw materials used domestically and abroad for their production (in tonnes). Final use covers both domestic consumption and domestic investment as well as export.

The denominator of the indicator takes into account abiotic and biotic resources extracted from the environment as well as plant materials produced by farming and forestry. In the graph, the development of the indicator itself and of both the numerator and the denominator are traced separately.

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The extraction of raw materials always entails some impairment of the natural environment. Owing to the growing demand for raw materials, raw material deposits in all parts of the world are increasingly being extracted in areas that are particularly sensitive to human intervention. For this reason, back in 2016, in the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) II, the German Government set itself the goal of ensuring a continuing rise in raw material input productivity. In the years 2000 to 2010, raw material input productivity was already increasing at an average rate of around 1.6% annually. The aim is to maintain this kind of positive trend up to 2030.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

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Last modification of code (text) 2021-09-10: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

To calculate this indicator, it is necessary to determine, among other things, the mass of all raw materials required to produce the country’s imports. The calculation of this variable, designated as imports in raw material equivalents, is based on a complex model that employs data from various official and unofficial sources.

By considering imports in terms of both monetary value and mass, the indicator takes into account the value added and the raw material input along the entire domestic and foreign production chain. In this way, it also takes full account of the degree of economic interdependence with other countries. The raw material input reflected in the indicator covers not only domestic final use but also export. Accordingly, it should not be confused with a resource footprint for Germany.

Besides non-renewable resources – mineral resources and fossil fuels – the indicator also covers plant products from agriculture and forestry. As a result, there are a very few instances of double counting. For example, both the mass of a harvested agricultural product and that of the mineral fertiliser used to produce it are recorded.

According to preliminary data, the value of the indicator increased by 35% from 2000 to 2016. This increase results in particular from the growth of the numerator, that is to say the value of final use (domestic consumption and domestic investment plus exports), which rose by 39% during the reference period. Domestic extraction of raw materials fell to a moderate extent between 2000 and 2016; at the same time, however, the mass of imports in raw material equivalents increased, resulting in a slight increase of approximately 3% in the indicator denominator.

The export – or re-export – of domestically extracted and imported raw materials also increased. Consequently, the denominator of this indicator does not point to increased global raw material extraction for consumption and investment in Germany but reflects a generally closer interdependence between the German economy and the rest of the world.

Because of the exceptional economic situation during the European financial and economic crisis, the year 2009 should be regarded as an outlier. In 2010 and 2011, investments and exports, as well as the associated input of raw materials, rose sharply again. This marked a resumption of the trend that had been seen in the period up to 2008. From 2013 to 2014, the value of the indicator rose by 4%, from 2014 to 2015 it rose by 7%, and from 2015 to 2016 it rose by 1%; the upward trend of the preceding years was thus maintained.

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)


8.1 Raw material input productivity


Trend of the years 2000–2010 to be maintained until 2030






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 Federal Statistical Office


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