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The vulnerability of shifting towards a greener world: The impact of the EU's green transition on material demand

17 January 2024

Authors: Elena Vaagenes Andersen, Yuli Shan, Benedikt Bruckner, Martin Černý, Kaan Hidiroglu, Klaus Hubacek

Journal: Sustainable Horizons


The green transition from fossil fuels to renewables requires acquisition of rare earth minerals and other materials for construction of renewable energy technologies and may lead to new dependencies through imports potentially causing immense pressure on global supply chains. This study investigates the material vulnerability of sectors and countries in the EU. Vulnerability maps are created for the EU's material demands by combining three analyses: input-output analysis, forward linkage analysis and network analysis. The approach reveals the relative importance of individual sectors and their vulnerability given increasing demand. As such, the analyses help to identify which sectors, based on their current implementation of renewable energy sources, could put a country and the EU at risk of not meeting their mitigation targets by 2050. The analysis concludes that Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Slovakia will experience particularly large material vulnerabilities in several of the materials investigated. Hence, such findings can provide early warnings to sectors and countries about potential implications in their supply chains along with potential mitigation measures such as secondary sourcing, material substitution and material diplomacy.

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Last modified:27 February 2024 10.38 a.m.

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