Material stocks such as buildings, infrastructures and machinery, in combination with biophysical resource flows (materials and energy), deliver services to society. Material stocks are of crucial importance for sustainability due to their eminent social, economic and ecological implications: Most resource uses and emissions stem from building, maintaining and using stocks. Existing stocks deliver fundamental services such as shelter, water supply, transport and others. At the same time, they create long-term lock-ins of resource use patterns (land, energy, etc.) and their “efficiency” of service provision is quite variable. A sustainability transformation presupposes that issues of sufficiency and socio-ecological limits are considered.
MAT_STOCKS focuses on the empirical investigation of the stock-flow-service nexus. It generates global stock, flow and service databases, investigates long-term case studies, maps stocks at high resolution, develops innovative models of stock-flow-service interrelations and analyses their importance for sustainability transformations.