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Glossary eco-innovation observatory Biomimicry “Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems” (Biomimicry Institute 2011). It is thought of as “innovation inspired by nature.” Back to Good Practice Box 11. Circular economy The circular economy is one in which used materials are recycled back into production stream. It is the better use of waste for new materials. Back to Ch 7. Critical metal A metal which is essential to an industrial process and for which there is no actual or commercially viable substitute. Back to the critical metals Box 5.1. Decoupling Decoupling compares resource use to economic growth. There are 2 types: relative and absolute. Relative decoupling means that resource use may increase, however, at a lower rate than economic growth. Or, resource use remains constant while the economic output increases. Absolute decoupling is achieved when resource use declines over time while the economy grows (Schütz and Bringzu 2008). Back to Ch 2. Dematerialization Dematerialisation is the supply and use of products and services with less and less materials. It means a decrease in material flows, i.e. reduced material input due to greater efficiency (Schütz and Bringzu 2008). Back to Ch 1, Ch 7. Direct Material Input DMI is an indicator derived from national material flow accounts. It measures the direct flows of materials that physically enter the economic system as an input, i.e. materials that are used in production and consumption activities. DMI equals domestic (used) extraction plus the direct mass of imports. Back to Ch 2. Domestic Material consumption DMC is an indicator derived from national material flow Consumption accounts. DMC subtracts the direct mass of exports from DMI, thus illustrating the consumption of materials by the domestic economy. Back to Ch 2. Downcycling Downcycling means converting waste into a new product of lesser quality and reduced functionality. For instance, plastic is recycled into a lower grade plastic. The goal is to re-use raw materials to the most effective degree, reducing the need for primary extraction. Back to Ch 7. Eco-industries Those industries which produce goods and services with the intention of reducing environmental risk and minimizing pollution and resource use. They are often called clean tech or green tech innovations. Back to Ch 1. Eco-innovation Eco-innovation is the introduction of any new or significantly improved product (good or service), process, organisational change or market- Annual Report 2010 99