Dematerialization is a concept, a pleasant dream at the present time: every year, every day, every second, billions and billions of tons of materials from all over the world are extracted, processed, conveyed from a country to another, from a region to another, in order to irrigate the insatiate global economy that is still growing. Further we develop, closer we come to their time of exhaustion, because for many of these resources there is no regeneration possible. What will happen then, when the flows from the taps will begin to slow down, when the mine will turn empty, and that recycling processes will not be ready to meet the needs?
There are unavoidable common metals, such as iron, aluminum, lead, zinc or copper. At current pace of extraction, many of them should be exhausted within 50 years – and frictions should appear much earlier. There are also rarer metals, such as cobalt, lithium, antimony or indium, and rare earths, which the whole technological revolution is based on. Great hopes are placed on their potential, notably for inventing new energy solutions; however, as predicted in the name, they are rare on earth. For all these unrenewable resources, perspectives are clear at the end.
No hopes? Well, there are the renewable resources. However, something renewable is not necessarily renewed. And for the moment, there are worldwide many renewable resources that are managed unsustainably, and for them the story is the same. Soils, water, air, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, all this natural wealth is threatened in many places, because no regeneration is allowed. This overexploitation is a major source of risk, because from food to clean air, nature still provides what humans basically need. At Beyond-Ratings, we keep a close eye on how countries manage their natural resources, and try to assess the risk that ensues from.
Renewable resources are an insurance for the future, but you have to pay the regeneration premium. Blind exploitation leads to scarcity, which leads to risk and instability. We propose to measure it.
At Beyond Ratings, we think that natural resources matter. And we think that coming shortening is an important source of risk, that must be looked after.