The problem of the exploitation of raw materials and the use of energy systems has always been of great importance in the economic scenario as it has characterized both the production and the final distribution of wealth. The work begins with a section focusing on the analysis of raw materials and investigates the relations existing between economic growth, international trade and trade agreements at a global level. With regard to energy commodities, the immense accessibility to the sources of energy has allowed a rapid growth in the time of prosperity and technological progress. The current energy system is mainly based on primary sources from fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas): about 90% of the global energy demand is covered by exhaustible primary sources; less than 10% of the demand is covered by renewable sources of energy. Industrialized countries (about 20% of the countries in the world) consume most of the global energy. The increasing scarcity of resources, the large international migration and economic development of many developing countries are, however, gradually changing the global energy scenario. In this context, renewable sources of energy play an increasingly prominent role. Finally, the environment section provides a screening of environmental issues, with particular reference to the relationship between business and the environment and to the analysis of some instruments and measures for environmental management (ISO 14001, EMAS Regulation, Ecolabel).
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