J2: Raw material consumption

Final Final

Short description

This indicator shows trends in the amount of (a) raw material consumption (RMC) per capita and (b) the amount of gross value added (GVA) per unit of raw material consumption. These measures give a proxy for the scale of our environmental impact associated with our material consumption, while helping identify how efficiently natural resources are being used and the extent to which economic output is being decoupled from consumption of materials.

Data on RMC underpinning each metric are available in Material footprint and resource efficiency in the UK. These source data are currently published as Experimental Statistics whilst there are ongoing refinements to the methodology. GVA data are published by the Office for National Statistics (2019) Nominal and real regional gross value added (balance) by industry. Population data are published by the Office for National Statistics (2019) Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


While the currently available data predate the 25 Year Environment Plan, they provide the most recently available assessment of raw material consumption in England. They enable a better understanding of a baseline from which to measure progress towards the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan when the indicator is next updated.

Trend description

a) Raw material consumption per capita

The average material footprint per capita in England (excluding fossil fuels) increased by 3.0% between 2001 and 2017. It rose steadily between 2001 and 2007, before declining sharply during the recession. It rose again to 2015 and fell back in 2016 and 2017, to 14.7 tonnes per capita. Within the overall total, there have been increases in per capita consumption of both biomass and non-metallic mineral materials between 2001 and 2017, whilst for metal ores there has been a slight decrease.

b) Gross value added per kg of raw material consumption

In 2017, England generated approximately 15.9% more economic value than in 2001 (measured by GVA per unit of RMC (excluding fossil fuels) also described as resource productivity). Resource productivity measured on this basis, rose from £1.63 of GVA per kg of RMC in 2001 to £1.89 in 2017. Resource productivity peaked at £1.95 in 2009 as a result of a sharp drop in RMC relative to economic activity during the recession. It has since declined against this peak, but remains above pre-recession levels.


Choose categories from the dropdowns below to see different breakdowns of the data. Some will not be available until a higher level is chosen.

This table provides metadata for the interim or final indicator presented above.

Indicator name

Raw material consumption

Indicator reference


Outcome Indicator Framework theme

Resource Use and Waste

Headline indicator status

Resource efficiency and waste

Relevant goal(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently
  • Mitigating and adapting to climate change
Relevant target(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Maximising the value and benefits we get from our resources, doubling resource productivity by 2050
Position in the natural capital framework
  • Pressure on natural capital assets
Related reporting commitments
  • Links to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 8 and 12
Geographic scope


Status of indicator development


Date last updated

11 June 2021