Measuring up

Think tank: Green Alliance

Author(s): Emily Carr

June 14, 2024

This report from UK think tank Green Alliance examines the potential of targets to reduce resource use.

Resource use is skyrocketing globally, with extraction of metals, minerals, fuels and bioresources increasing four-fold since 1970, resulting in dire environmental and social impacts.

While the outgoing UK government said in 2018 that “we can no longer ignore” our unsustainable level of resource use, plans to set resource targets were abandoned on the grounds that more evidence was needed. The UK, however, does have several datasets to quantify the impacts of consumption. Investing in these metrics will improve their reliability and usefulness and provide direction for the government to target interventions more effectively.

In this report, we examine the main consumption based metrics available to inform the setting of new targets to bring resource to within planetary boundaries.

We demonstrate how this can avoid the negative impacts on people and environment associated with ‘throwaway living’ and deliver long-term resilience for the economy.