Material Flow Accounts (MFA)

The material flow accounts show the physical exchange processes between society and nature. The flow of materials is described in four key flows: biomass, metals, non-metal minerals and fossil fuels.

Direct material input (DMI) amounted to 234.6 million tonnes in 2019 and domestic material consumption (DMC) to 169.0 million tonnes. The share of domestic extraction in the total direct material input was 57.9%, with the largest part being accounted for by non-metallic minerals. However, imports are becoming increasingly important. In 2019, 98.7 million tonnes were imported. Exports amounted to 65.6 million tonnes and were therefore in quantitative terms significantly lower than imports. However, exports consist of more highly processed goods with a higher added value, which make them an important economic factor.

A significant proportion of the used materials is returned to nature in the form of emissions or waste, or is applied deliberately (for example as fertiliser). In total, Domestic Processed Output (DPO) amounted to 96.3 million tonnes in 2019. Air emissions made up around 95% of it.

Some three quarters of the direct material input are non-renewable raw materials (coal, crude oil, natural gas, mineral materials). This means that only one quarter of the material flow belongs to renewable raw materials such as biomass.

In Austria, direct material input (DMI) rose by 15.8% from 2000 to 2019, whereas domestic material consumption (DMC) only increased by 4.2%. As, during the same period, gross domestic product grew by about 33.4%, resource productivity (GDP/DMC) increased significantly. Resource productivity indicates the amount of GDP in euro generated per one tonne of domestic material consumption - €2,215 euro per tonne in 2019 compared to €1,730 in 2000.

The methods used for the compilation of the material flow accounts correspond to the European requirements, which are based on Regulation (EU) No. 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts as well as on the associated methodological manuals. These in turn are based on the international statistical standards established by the United Nations System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Central Framework (SEEA - CF).

As of the reference year 2011, there is a legal obligation for EU Member States to report economy-wide material flow accounts to Eurostat. The MFA data series are annually revised back to the year 2000, but they are available in a relatively consistent time series since 1960.