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Trends in Sustainable Development Reports

Trends SD CoverTrends in Sustainable Development – Chemicals, Mining, Transport, Waste Management
:: 2010-2011

This report highlights key trends with respect to the sustainable management of each of these sectors. It emphasizes the key positive contributions these sectors can make to sustainable development, while also pointing to areas where they pose risks and sustainability challenges. Progress in addressing those challenges is illustrated with numbers and case studies.


  • The consumption and production of chemicals in developing countries is growing much faster than in developed countries and could account for a third of global consumption by 2020.
  • While chemicals production is an energy-intensive industry, chemicals for building insulation materials and other uses have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a large multiple of those emitted in their production.
  • In the past century, the extraction of construction minerals has increased by a factor of 34 and the extraction of ores/industrial minerals increased by a factor of 27, while biomass extraction grew by 3.6 times.
  • Approximately 10 per cent of active mines and 20 per cent of exploratory sites are located in areas of high conservation value, while nearly 30 per cent of active mines are located in water-stressed areas.
  • Annual passenger travel per capita by automobile is many times higher in developed countries than in developing ones, but it is projected to grow very rapidly in developing countries over the next half century.
  • Global CO2 emissions from transport grew 12 per cent between 2000 and 2005, double the rate for buildings but considerably slower than emissions from electricity generation and industry.
  • A growing share of municipal waste contains hazardous electronic or electric products. In Europe e-waste is increasing by 3–5 per cent per year.


  • The average number of chemicals risk assessments undertaken from 2001 to 2009 compared the period between 1995 and 2000 has multiplied sevenfold.
  • Some governments have effectively managed mineral resource revenues for the benefit of all citizens and to support long-run development, but many others have been less successful at doing so.
  • Waste-to-energy is a growing field. The EU considers waste-to-energy as the preferred method of waste disposal. The facilities in Europe can provide 32 million inhabitants with heat and 25 million with electricity.
  • Recycling is an effective means to reduce energy use, CO2 emissions and waste at the same time. The general trend throughout the last 25 years indicates an increase in recycling rates.