Examining the role of BRICS countries at the global economic and environmental resources nexus

Xu Tian*, Joseph Sarkis*, Yong Geng*, Raimund Bleischwitz, Yiying Qian, Liquan Xu, Rui Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are central to future global economic development. However, they are facing both environmental and natural resource stresses due to their rapid economic growth. This study examines the balance between economic benefits and cost of environmental emissions and resource usage in BRICS countries so that future sustainable development insights can be provided. The historical trends of carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), water, land, energy and material footprints of these countries from 1995 to 2015 are evaluated with a multi-regional input-output model. Also, whether a decoupling relationship exists between economic development, environmental emissions and resources consumption, is examined. In addition, whether environmental emissions and resource usage costs to obtain identical economic gains of these countries in global trade are explored. The major results show that in congruence with economic development, the average annual growth rates of footprint indicators ranged from 0.2% in 1995 to 9.8% in 2015. A decoupling effect did not occur for CO2 emissions or water consumption but did exist for other indicators. Global trade across the supply chain shows to achieve a unit of USD economic benefit from trade, BRICS countries tend to use relatively greater environmental emissions and resource consumption to high income countries, when compared to other income level countries. These emergent economies did receive relatively greater benefits per environmental emissions and resource usage cost from lower-middle and low-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110330
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Environmental Management
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • BRICS countries
  • Cost-benefit
  • Decoupling
  • Footprint
  • Governance
  • Virtual trade

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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