Advances in Measuring Sustainable Development
INTRODUCTION The role that international trade plays in measuring sustainable development has come under recent scrutiny, reﬂecting in part the wider and diverse debate about trade and sustainability. For example, by relaxing domestic natural resource constraints it has been argued that international trade allows any particular country to deplete natural assets abroad by importing its natural resource requirements. While the onus is on resource-extracting countries to make provision for the loss of domestic natural assets whether for export or not, some importing countries have expressed interest in measuring their derived demand for the depletion of resources elsewhere. For both selﬁsh and altruistic reasons, such information may be of particular interest where an exporter is believed to be on an unsustainable path. In this chapter, we examine international resource ﬂows using an Input/ Output framework that is akin to an ‘ecological balance of payments’ analysis. This framework allows us to calculate the derived demand for resources in the country of ﬁnal use. The empirical section of this chapter applies this model to data on global trade and natural resource depletion in 1980, 1985 and 1990. Our results provide a quantitative assessment of the signiﬁcance of imports of resources – direct and indirect – required by, say, Japan, the United States and the European Union. These results can also be disaggregated to permit an examination of trade relations vis-àvis individual resource exporting countries. It is interesting to note that a number of these resource exporters appear to be unsustainable at...
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