Assessing Socioeconomic Metabolism Through Hybrid Life Cycle Assessment

The Case of the Czech Republic


Address correspondence to:
Jan Weinzettel
José Martího 2/407
Prague 6
160 41
158 00
Czech Republic


This article applies a combined input−output and life cycle inventory (LCI) method to the calculation of emissions and material requirements of the Czech economy in 2003. The main focus is on materials and emissions embodied in the international trade of the Czech Republic. Emissions and material extraction avoided due to imports are calculated according to an input−output approach that assumes the same production technology for imports as for domestic production. Because not all products are provided by the domestic economy, the LCI data are incorporated into the monetary input−output model.

The results show that incorporating the LCI data into an input−output model is reasonable. The emissions embodied in the international trade of the Czech Republic are comparable to the domestic emissions. We compare the economy-wide material flow indicators, such as direct material input, domestic material consumption, and physical trade balance, to their raw material equivalents. The results of our calculation show that the Czech Republic exerts environmental pressure on the environment in other countries through international trade.

We argue that raw material equivalents should be used to express the flows across national boundaries. Furthermore, we recommend a raw material consumption indicator for international comparisons.