The extraction of material resources such as biomass, fossil fuels and non-metallic minerals, could reach 88.6 billion tonnes this year.
That’s three times the amount used in 1970, according to estimates from the International Resource Panel, a group of scientific experts established by the UN in 2007.
It expects global material use to more than double by 2050 on current trrends and is calling on the economy to embrace resource efficiency to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
It estimates resource efficiency policies and initiatives could cut consumption by 26% and greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 15% to 29% by 2050.
The report suggests better and more efficient extraction and use of natural resources could be one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce environmental impacts including pollution.
Panel Co-chairs Janez Potocnik and Izabella Teixeira said: “The amount of natural resources used is closely linked to the amount of final waste and emissions generated through their use. Effective pollution control must also look to minimise raq material use, thereby decreasing final waste and emissions.”