Environmental impacts of material flows caused by the Finnish economy (ENVIMAT) (2006-2008)

Environmental Cluster Research Project no. 110


The processing of natural resources causes different impacts on the environment. Natural resources used for manufacturing have different characteristics for example from the perspective of future generations' utilization. Furthermore, resources can be renewable (e.g. wood) or non-renewable (such as minerals, fossil fuels). For this reason, the mass amounts of different material flows cannot be considered equal from the point of view of environmental protection. In order to achieve sustainable development it is important to recognize those material flows that stress the environment most or even exceed its environmental capacity.


The aim of this project  was to define the life cycle environmental impacts of  the material flows used for production and consumption in the Finnish economy allocated to different activity sectors and product groups. In the project, the focus was not restricted to domestic environmental loads. Impacts on the environment caused by imported raw materials and goods were also taken into account. The final objective of the project was to create a so called hybrid model by which the relationships between environmental impacts and economic effects caused by the use of natural resources in Finland can be assessed. In the environmental assessment, life cycle methodology and databases were connected to the national material flow accounts and input-output analysis.


The project was one of the projects funded by the Environmental Cluster Research Programme (4th phase: Ecoefficient Society). The ENVIMAT project was started in June, 2006 and will be finished by the end of  2008.

Organization of the research

The project was carried out by a research team  consisting of Finnish Environment Institute (in charge), Thule institute (University of Oulu), MTT Agrifood Research Finland and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. A steering group, including representatives from administration, industry associations and research organizations, adviced and supervised the work of the research team.

Two national seminars for interest groups and an international seminar for researches were arranged during the project.

For more information

Project leader Prof. Jyri Seppälä, Finnish Environment Institute, firstname.surname@ymparisto.fi

Project coordinator Senior Reseacher Sirkka Koskela, Finnish Environment Institute, firstname.surname@ymparisto.fi

Project supervisor  Ms. Merja Saarnilehto, Ministry of the Environment, firstname.surname@ymparisto.fi
Published 2013-05-03 at 12:35, updated 2013-05-03 at 12:35