This study is intended to conduct an extended evaluation of sustainability based on the material flow analysis of resource productivity. We first present updated information on the material flow analysis (MFA) database in Taiwan. Essential indicators are selected to quantify resource productivity associated with the economy-wide MFA of Taiwan. The study also applies the IPAT (impact-population-affluence-technology) master equation to measure trends of material use efficiency in Taiwan and to compare them with those of other Asia-Pacific countries. An extended evaluation of efficiency, in comparison with selected economies by applying data envelopment analysis (DEA), is conducted accordingly. The Malmquist Productivity Index (MPI) is thereby adopted to quantify the patterns and the associated changes of efficiency. Observations and summaries can be described as follows. Based on the MFA of the Taiwanese economy, the average growth rates of domestic material input (DMI; 2.83%) and domestic material consumption (DMC; 2.13%) in the past two decades were both less than that of gross domestic product (GDP; 4.95%). The decoupling of environmental pressures from economic growth can be observed. In terms of the decomposition analysis of the IPAT equation and in comparison with 38 other economies, the material use efficiency of Taiwan did not perform as well as its economic growth. The DEA comparisons of resource productivity show that Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Japan performed the best in 2008. Since the MPI consists of technological change (frontier-shift or innovation) and efficiency change (catch-up), the change in efficiency (catch-up) of Taiwan has not been accomplished as expected in spite of the increase in its technological efficiency.
Sustainability 2014, 6(9), 6070-6087.(http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/6/9/6070)
National Taipei University
Dr. LEE, YUH-MING AND Dr. CHEN, CHIU-YANG