Circular Economy Indicators

The basic concept of a circular economy depicts a production and consumption system that relies on the recycling, re-use, repair, remanufacturing, sharing of products, changing the consumption patterns and new business models and systems. 

There is no indicator that can be a single measurement for the Circular Economy. However a number of existing indicators can help to measure performance in several areas that directly or indirectly contribute to the Circular Economy development. They can be grouped into the following groups: 

Sustainable resource management

This set of indicators examines the performance of the EU Member States in transforming their economies toward circularity by lowering resource demands, thereby increasing resource security and lowering pressures on the environment domestically and abroad.

Societal behaviour 

This set of indicators reflect citizen awareness, engagement and participation in the circular economy. Citizen engagement, behaviour change and social norms are integral to the success of a circular economy transition. This means that people participate in new forms of consumption (e.g. sharing, product-service systems, willingness to pay more for durability), re-use (requiring changed mindsets regarding repair and refurbishment), and disposal (separating waste streams and bringing ""waste"" to remanufacturing/recycling/sorting sites).

Business operations 

This set of indicators depicts eco-innovation activities toward changing and adapting business models according to the principles of a circular economy. Businesses are the engine behind the circular economy transition. They foster circularity across the life-cycle of material use, beginning with how and what materials are sourced (quality, environmental and health standards). The design stage is particularly crucial to enabling re-use / re-manufacturing / recycling and raising the durability of goods for keeping within the economy longer. Remanufacturing and recycling are key business operations critical to scaling up the circular economy.