The European Commission's statistical service Eurostat has published the first-ever resource efficiency scoreboard, comparing European countries using a set of 30 indicators covering natural resource consumption.
The scoreboard is headlined by an indicator for resource productivity, which shows gross domestic product divided by domestic material consumption (domestic raw material extraction plus raw material imports minus raw material exports). This shows that, between 2000 and 2011, the European Union generated about 20 percent more income from its domestic material consumption.
Other indicators measure productivity relative to water extraction, land use and energy use. Also included in the resource efficiency scoreboard are indicators for issues such as waste production and re-use/recycling, emissions from buildings and transport and the condition of soils.
Among the indicators is the eco-innovation index from the Eco-innovation Observatory. This shows that in 2012, the EU eco-innovation leaders were Finland, Denmark and Sweden, while those with most scope to catch up were Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia. The eco-innovation index is itself a composite indicator made up of 16 sub-indicators, covering eco-innovation inputs, eco-innovation activities, eco-innovation outputs, environmental outcomes and socio-economic outcomes.
The resource efficiency scoreboard shows that the most resource-productive member states are the United Kingdom and Luxembourg, which generate €3.22 and €3.21 respectively per kilogramme of raw material. In third place is the Netherlands (€2.89/kg), while at the bottom of the ranking are Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia (respectively €0.20, €0.21 and €0.32/kg).
This however reflects the structure of the economies of these countries. In the UK and Luxembourg, most GDP is generated by services, which consume relatively little raw material. The resource productivity indicator does not include resources embedded in imported products, and therefore does not fully reflect countries' resource consumption. However, Eurostat is working on a “material footprint” indicator for Europe that will show the global environmental pressure generated by resource use in the EU and its member states.
Walter Radermacher, Director General of Eurostat, said in a statement that the scoreboard would support implementation of the EU resource-efficient Europe flagship initiative, and should be of interest to all citizens because “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.”
The resource efficiency scoreboard is available at http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/europe_2020_indicators/ree_scoreboard