Metal-consuming countries depend on mining activity in other countries, which may impose potential pressure on sustainable metal supply. This study proposes an approach to analyze the responsibility of consuming countries for mining activities based on the decomposition analysis of scarcity-weighted metal footprints (S-MFs) of Japan. The application results to the Japanese final demand (iron, copper, and nickel) demonstrate the significance of country- and metal-specific conditions in terms of metal footprints and mining capacity in assessing the responsibility of consuming countries. Consuming countries can identify influential factors to reduce their S-MFs based on the decomposition analysis by discriminating the directly controllable and uncontrollable factors for consuming countries, which can help to plan different countermeasures depending on the types of the identified influential factors. The proposed approach supports metal-consuming countries to determine the effective options for reducing the responsibility for the sustainability of metal supply.
Ryosuke Yokoi, Keisuke Nansai, Kenichi Nakajima, Takuma Watari, and Masaharu Motoshita
iScience, 2021, 24, 1, 102025, Link