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DEvelopment of a System of Indicators for a Resource efficient Europe (DESIRE)

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Optimal indicators to monitor progress towards resource efficiency in Europe

An EU initiative produced a powerful set of indicators that can assess resource efficiency and promote sustainability.

Climate Change and Environment

As the world's population grows and resources become scarcer, Europe is looking at ways to become more sustainable and more resource efficient. Such a vision requires a robust system to measure resource efficiency, from impacts on biodiversity to effects on ecosystems. With this in mind, the EU-funded DESIRE (Development of a system of indicators for a resource efficient Europe) project worked on a solution to monitor European progress towards resource efficiency. To achieve its aims, the project combined a time series of environmentally extended input-output data (EE IO) with the European Environment Agency's (EEA) DPSIR framework. DPSIR stands for Driving forces, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses used to describe interactions between society and the environment. With this approach, project partners used a single data set that enables the consistent development of resource efficiency indicators. These indicators capture global, EU, country, sector and product group levels, as well as production and consumption perspectives. Researchers analysed resource policies and strategies at national, EU and global levels to identify the current needs of policymakers concerning resource use and efficiency indicators. They reviewed existing indicator frameworks and matched them with the identified indicator needs in order to identify main gaps and areas for further development. Results led to the development of a detailed indicator framework. By developing and applying an ideal set of indicators and models to analyse and monitor European progress towards resource efficiency from a production and consumption perspective, the DESIRE team improved data availability particularly through EE IO time series and now-casted data. It enhanced calculation methods for indicators that lack scientific robustness, particularly in biodiversity and ecosystem services and critical materials. The team also created novel reference indicators for economic success. DESIRE represents an important step forward for Europe in assessing resource efficiency and ultimately furthering sustainability.

Keywords

Indicators, resource efficiency, DESIRE, environmentally extended input-output data

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