Material productivity related to domestic material extraction has increased in all world regions over the 33 years covered in the data. With almost 2,300 US$ per tonne, Europe had the highest rate of generated GDP per material extraction and therefore the highest material productivity of all world regions. This reflects an improvement by 83% since 1980. North America ranked second regarding the effectiveness in generating economic output from domestic material extraction, with 2,000 US$ per tonne in 2013 (compared to 1,000 US$ in 1980, i.e. an improvement of 100%). Two major drivers for this trend in industrialised regions are the use of new technologies with improved material and energy performance and structural change of economies towards service sectors characterised by less material input per economic output. Also the outsourcing of material intensive economic activities through international trade leads to an improvement in the material productivity numbers. This aspect is not covered with the data illustrated in the figure above.
The Asian continent is the only region, where material productivity did not improve over the whole time period, as the productivity curve declined since 2002, corresponding to the significant growth in material extraction in countries such as China or India. With 335 US$ per tonne in 2013, the value was very close to 1980 (330 US$ per tonne). The high share of Asia in global material extraction also led the world-wide productivity curve downward since 2002 to a value of 670 US$ per tonne in 2013 (compared with 625 US$ in 1980). Material productivity in Africa increased significantly, i.e. by 34%, but on a much lower level compared to other world regions. Productivity in Latin America stayed almost constant at around 390 US$ per tonne.