This report prepared by the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management assesses best available science on the environmental and resource impacts of production and consumption. The assessment report identifies priorities amongst global consumption activities, industrial sectors and materials from primary industries in terms of their environmental impacts and their resource use. This can play a role in directing environmental and resource policy to those areas that really matter. Environmental impacts occur at all stages in the life cycles of products and materials. They are often connected to land use, combustion of fuels, industrial processes, the dispersive use of materials (e.g., fertilizers), or resource extraction (including biomass and minerals). The report regards also the rapidly increasing international trade and economic activities leading to the translocation of environmental impacts of consumption to other countries.
There is a significant opportunity to improve the basis for decision-making by assessing best available scientific information from a global perspective in order to direct attention of decision-makers to the big problems first, while avoiding burden shifting in time, space and between environmental impacts.