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EU publishes 30 indicator scoreboard to measure resource efficiency progress

Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2013 | Author: Paul Sanderson

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The official statistical office of the European Union has published its European Resource Efficiency Scoreboard that presents 30 indicators for assessing and monitoring progress towards a resource efficient and circular economy.

Eurostat’s scoreboard will provide statistical support for the implementation of the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, which is one of Europe’s seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy.

It will provide the basis of a yearly analysis of the progress of the EU.

Eurostat director general Walter Radermacher said: “Measuring resource efficiency is a statistical challenge. The scoreboard presents a first set of indicators covering the themes addressed by the Roadmap.

“Natural resources, such as materials and minerals; clean air and water; arable land and fish stocks, are fundamental for our quality of life, and ensuring a smarter use of these resources is a key initiative for the future. This scoreboard should therefore be of interest not only to political decision makers, but also to all citizens.”

The scoreboard is structured around

  • A lead indicator on resource productivity
  • A dashboard of indicators focussing on land, water and carbon issues and
  • A set of specific indicators focussing on the sub-themes in the Roadmap: ‘Transforming the Economy’, ‘Nature and Ecosystems’ and ‘Key Areas’.


In more detail, these indicators are:

Lead indicator

A lead macro-indicator (‘Resource productivity’) has been chosen to measure the principal objective of the Roadmap. It is accompanied by the indicator ‘Domestic material consumption’ which complements the picture on material resources.

Resource productivity is defined as the ratio of GDP to domestic material consumption. Domestic material consumption measures the total amount of material directly used by an economy, such as biomass products, metal ores, fossil fuels, non-metallic minerals, petroleum resources etc. and is equal to domestic material extraction plus imports minus exports. The indicator is expressed in euro per kg and also as an index based on the year 2000.

Domestic material consumption is presented as the ratio to the population. This indicator is expressed in tonnes per capita.

Dashboard indicators

These include eight macro-indicators which focus on key natural resources: land, water and carbon.

Land indicators

Productivity of built-up areas is defined as GDP divided by the total surface of built-up areas in a country and shows whether these areas are efficiently used to generate added economic value. Built-up areas include buildings and greenhouses but exclude streets and sealed surfaces. The indicator is expressed in euro per km2.

Built-up areas presents the total surface of build-up areas in km2 and as a proportion of the total land area. It helps monitor the Roadmap objective to reduce the rate of land taken for housing and industry.

Water indicators

Water productivity is defined as the ratio of GDP to the total annual abstraction of fresh water removed from any fresh water source, either permanently or temporarily. The indicator is expressed in euro per m3.

Water exploitation index is the ratio of the annual total fresh water abstraction in a country to the long-term average available water. It shows how efficiently water is used.

Carbon indicators

Greenhouse gas emissions per capita is defined as emissions per capita in tonnes of CO2 equivalent, and shows the trends in man-made emissions of the 'Kyoto basket' of greenhouse gases. It monitors the Roadmap objective to reach the climate change milestones, and is complemented by indicators on energy, since energy production is directly linked to greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy productivity is the ratio of GDP to gross inland consumption of five types of energy: coal, electricity, oil, natural gas and renewable energy sources. It is measured in euro per kg of oil equivalent.

Energy dependence is calculated as net energy imports divided by the sum of gross inland energy consumption plus maritime bunkers. It shows the extent to which an economy relies upon imports in order to meet its energy needs.

Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption shows how rapidly the use of renewable energy is developing. It helps monitor progress towards the target set by the Europe 2020 strategy for increasing the share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption to 20% by 2020.

Thematic indicators

These are a set of 20 specific indicators focusing on the sub-themes in the Roadmap. They show progress in shifting the economy onto a more resource-efficient path, the pressure on nature and ecosystems and developments in key areas of basic needs with a high impact on the environment.

The sub-theme Transforming the economy shows progress in turning waste into a resource with indicators on waste generation and treatment (e.g. landfilling and recycling rates of different types of waste). Progress in research and innovation in environmentally related fields is measured by the eco-innovation index, which shows how individual Member States perform in this area compared to the EU average. Two indicators on environmental tax revenues and on energy taxes show the response of society to environmental pressures and monitor the shift from taxation of labour towards environmental taxation.

The sub-theme Nature and ecosystems monitors the state of and pressure on biological resources. For biodiversity, the scoreboard includes indicators on farmland bird populations, the area of organic farming and on landscape fragmentation. Clean air as a resource is monitored by two air pollution indicators which show the level of exposure of the urban population to particulate matters. The threat to land and soils as important resources is analysed by indicators on soil erosion by water and by the gross nutrient balance in agricultural land. An indicator on marine resources is currently under development.

The sub-theme Key areas includes indicators which present the high environmental impact caused by food consumption, buildings and mobility. For food consumption, there is an indicator of daily calorie supply from animal and vegetable products. For monitoring efficient mobility, the scoreboard offers indicators on CO2 emissions from new passenger cars, on pollutant emissions from transport and on the modal split of passenger and freight transport. Indicators to measure improvement of buildings are currently under development.

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