Disparate geography of consumption, production, and environmental impacts

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International trade transfers social and environmental impacts across national borders. The consumption of forest products often takes place far away from industrial production sites, and mills procure raw material from remote forests. Finland produces about 10% of forest products that are traded internationally, with the majority of its exports destined for other European countries. Here we report and analyze data that demonstrate that international leakage, in relative terms, increased faster than the production of commodities. The international consumption of products made in Finland increased, and an increase in wood imports from Russia provided the raw material for most of the incremental production. The international consumption-production system translated the increasing global demand for Finnish products into increased harvests in Russia, until the Russian customs duties started to increase in 2007. We argue that national and regional policies for the promotion of sustainable consumption and production must be analyzed and assessed from an international, holistic perspective.

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© 2010 by Yale University. Publisher’s version of record: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2010.00255.x

Publication Title

Journal of Industrial Ecology