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Natural resources

Quotation: Stefan Werland (2013): Introduction to the environmental Impact Area Natural Resources:


The use and transformation of natural resources is the basis for economic activty. Resources are used as input factors and as sinks that absorb emissions.

While the economy is dependent on secure supply of raw materials, the expoitation and use of resources generates environmental and social impacts. These can occur on the global level (climate change) or on the local and regional level (e.g. conatmination of soil or the loss of primary forests). The extent of our current resource use partly exceeds planetary boundaries and endangers the chances of future generations to have their fair share of resources. Rising demand from emerging economies aggravates this situation. Since industrialised countries increasingly re-locate the exploitation of resources (and the disposal of end of life products) to developing countries it is important to use a life cycle perspective for assessing the impacts of resource use.

This impact area is further specified by the taxonomy terms: Use of Renewable Resources and Use of Non-Renewable Resources.

Relevant Policies

A resource-efficient Europe – Flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy provides a long-term framework for actions in many policy areas of climate change, energy, transport, industry, raw materials, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity and regional development.
The objective of the "Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources", which is following the provisions of the Sixth Environment Action Programme, is to reduce the environmental impacts associated with resource use in a growing economy.
The EU has adopted a wide range of policy measures to regulate the use of renewable and non-renewable resources, including detailed regulation and policy programmes on the sustainable use of natural resources, raw materials, waste management, integrated product policy, etc.
This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.

Legal basis for the Commission to act

According to Article 194 (Energy) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Union policy on energy shall aim, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States, inter alia, to promote energy efficiency and energy saving and the development of new and renewable forms of energy.

Further sources of data


Further sources of information

UNEP International Resource Panel: Draft IRP Glossary




Related Terms

Use of Renewable Resources

Use of Non-Renewable Resources.

Publications and applications

Titel Type of practice Updated date
Assessment of Policy Interrelationships and Impacts on Sustainability in Europe - The APRAISE 3E method Project 2014-02-19 11:29
Biofuels Communication Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 09:24
Coal mining and the resource community cycle: A longitudinal assessment of the social impacts of the Coppabella coal mine Publication 2013-12-08 22:03
Development of Environmental Strategies Publication 2014-08-11 13:21
Embedding an Ecosystems Approach? The Utilisation of Ecological Knowledges in Decision Making Publication 2014-04-14 15:15
European Research for Impact Assessment Tools Publication 2014-04-17 14:41
IA Report: Action Plan for Biomass Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 11:03
IA Report: Communication - Energy Roadmap 2050 (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-27 12:11
IA Report: Communication on sustainable coal Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 20:22
IA Report: Communication on Winning the Battle against Global Climate Change Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 11:40
IA Report: Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-27 13:30
IA Report: General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 "Living well, within the limits of our planet" (2012) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-25 18:26
IA report: Mid-term review on the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 22:29
IA Report: Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (2012) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-25 18:31
IA Report: Proposal for a Directive imposing an obligation on Member States to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 21:55
IA Report: Regulation on amending Regulation (EC)1775/2005 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 21:56
IA Report: Renewable Energy Road Map Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 20:22
IA Report: Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-30 01:17
IA Report: Safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-27 12:37
IA Report: Strategic EU Energy Review Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 21:25
Impact assessment tools applied to impact assessment of EU policies in agriculture and environment. Publication 2014-04-14 15:49
Mainstreaming ecosystem services into EU policy Publication 2014-04-14 15:45
Mudgal et al., 2012: Preparatory study for the review of the thematic strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources. Publication 2013-06-14 13:06
Rare Earths Futures Project 2013-12-20 15:43
Screening decisions concerning the likely impacts of plans and projects on Natura 2000 sites Publication 2013-12-17 08:21
The challenge of embedding an ecosystem services approach: patterns of knowledge utilisation in public policy appraisal. Publication 2014-04-14 15:21
The Policy-Relevancy of Impact Assessment Tools: Evaluating Nine Years of European Research Funding Publication 2014-07-09 16:32
The temporal dimension of knowledge and the limits of policy appraisal: biofuels policy in the UK Publication 2013-03-26 15:01

Content for this term

Title Type Updated date
Bioeconomic mussel fisheries management model Model 2014-03-27 14:23
E3ME Model 2014-04-23 15:36
Farm System Simulator(Part of SEAMLESS) Model 2013-11-26 08:29
Jacob, Klaus Expert 2013-03-22 15:39
Mari Jüssi Expert 2014-03-17 12:26
METal ResOurces Model Model 2014-01-27 11:05
Nõmmann, Tea Expert 2014-03-05 09:47
Peterson, Kaja Expert 2014-03-05 09:38
Pothen, Frank Expert 2014-03-18 18:34
Renewable or non-renewable resources Impact Area 2014-01-22 16:27
TechnoGIN technical coefficient generator Model 2013-11-26 08:29
Werland, Stefan Expert 2014-03-05 09:48
Werntze, Andreas Expert 2014-03-28 11:11
WITCH Model 2013-11-26 08:29