Material flow accounts in raw material equivalents - modelling estimates (env_ac_rme)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

Unit E.2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development

1.5. Contact mail address

L-2920 Luxembourg, LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 25/03/2019
2.2. Metadata last posted 25/03/2019
2.3. Metadata last update 25/03/2019


3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

The datasets:

  • Material flow accounts in raw material equivalents - modelling estimates (env_ac_rme)
  • Material flow accounts in raw material equivalents by final uses of products - modelling estimates (env_ac_rmefd)

provide model-based estimates, for the aggregate EU economy only, of material flow accounts in raw material equivelents (MFA-RME) to complement the dataset ´Material flow accounts' (env_ac_mfa), also referred to as economy-wide material flow accounts (EW-MFA).

Both EW-MFA and MFA-RME present the flows of natural resources (minerals, metal ores, biomass, fossil energy materials) from the environment into the economy. Both include domestic extraction of materials measured in tonnes of gross material (e.g. gross ore or gross harvest). However, in EW-MFA imports and exports are measured in mass weight of the products as they cross country borders. For the derived indicators this implies that they combine data with different underlying measurement concepts. The MFA-RME dataset offers a complementary view by replacing the material trade flows in mass weight by estimates of the raw material equivalents of the products traded, i.e. how much extraction, domestic and abroad, was needed to produce the traded products. And by extension, the indicator raw material consumption (RMC) shows the amount of extraction required to produce the products demanded by final users in the EU, irrespective of where in the world the extraction of material from the environment took place. 

The MFA-RME dataset (env_ac_rme) includes:

  • domestic material extraction by material, directly taken from the EW-MFA dataset (env_ac_mfa), see also Section 15.3 and 17.2 below,
  • estimates of the imports and exports in raw material equivalents (RME) by material
  • derived indicators, namely raw material input (RMI) and raw material consumption (RMC), by material, see also Section 3.2 below.

 

The MFA-RME dataset by final uses of products (env_ac_rmefd) presents RMC in more detail by:

  • material
  • final products
  • final uses (representing subcategories of RMC)


The two MFA-RME datasets are compiled using the same model and are fully consistent. 

 

For more information on the complete set of material flow accounts see also the dedicated website on material flows and resource productivity.

3.2. Classification system

The data set env_ac_rme has five dimensions:

1) Geopolitical entity [GEO]: European Union (EU)

2) Material flow indicator [INDIC_ENV]:

  •  Domestic extraction (DE)
  •  Total imports in raw material equivalents (IMP_RME)
  •  Raw material input (RMI) ( = DE + IMP_RME)
  •  Total exports in raw material equivalents (EXP_RME)
  •  Raw material consumption (RMC) ( = RMI – EXP_RME)

3) Material category [MATERIAL]: 67 material categories, including hierarchical aggregates, denoting the type of raw material initially extracted such as biomass, metal ores, non-metallic minerals, and fossil energy materials/carriers. Estimates for only the total and the four main material categories are published for the years 2000-2007. See also Section 15.2 Comparability - over time.  

4) Period of time [TIME]: data are annual starting with the year 2000. For the years 2000-2007, estimates for only the four main material categories are published. See also Section 15.2 Comparability - over time.

5) Unit [UNIT]: thousand tonnes and tonnes per capita.

 

The dataset env_ac_rmefd has six dimensions: 

1) Geopolitical entity [GEO]: European Union (EU)

2) Material flow indicator [INDIC_ENV]:

  • Raw material consumption (RMC)
  • Raw material consumption as result of final consumption expenditure (RMC_P3)
  • Raw material consumption as result of final consumption expenditure of general government (RMC_P3_S13)
  • Raw material consumption as result of final consumption expenditure of households (RMC_P3_S14)
  • Raw material consumption as result of final consumption expenditure of non-profit institutions serving households (RMC_P3_S15)
  • Raw material consumption as result of gross capital formation (RMC_P5)
  • Raw material consumption as result of gross fixed capital formation (RMC_P51G)
  • Raw material consumption as result of changes in inventories and acquisitions less disposals of valuables (RMC_P52_53)

3) Material category [MATERIAL]: 67 material categories, including hierarchical aggregates, denoting the type of raw material initially extracted such as biomass, metal ores, non-metallic minerals, and fossil energy materials/carriers.  

4) Period of time [TIME]: data are annual starting with the year 2008.

5) Unit [UNIT]: thousand tonnes and tonnes per capita.

6) Statistical Classification of Products by Activity in the European Economic Community, 2008 [CPA08]: 63 final products groups and total

3.3. Coverage - sector

The modelling estimates cover the direct and indirect material use in the entire EU.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Material flow accounts follow concepts and definitions defined in the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) and are closely related to concepts and definitions as set out in the System of National Accounts (SNA) and the European System of Accounts (ESA).

 

The following specific concepts are used:

  • Domestic extraction (DE): total amount of material extracted for further processing in the economy, by resident units from the natural environment. The data originates from Eurostat's dataset 'Material flow accounts (env_ac_mfa)' the production of which is under legal coverage: Regulation (EU) No 691/2011 on European Environmental Economic Accounts  - Annex 3: Economy-wide Material Flow Accounts. The module is conceptually related to the international statistical standard System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 (SEEA).
  • Raw material equivalents (RME): conversion factors to express a unit of product traded into the amount of material extraction needed, anywhere in the world, to produce the traded product. The conversion factors are obtained from a hybrid input-output model. More information on these conversion factors and the methodology can be found in the documentation listed in Section 10.6 below.
  • Raw material input (RMI): the amount of material in terms of RME available to the economy for use in production and consumption activities. It is the sum of domestic extraction and imports in RME (calculated at the aggregate product level, by material).
  • Raw material consumption indicator (RMC): the amount of material in terms of RME needed (or, the amount of extraction, domestic and abroad, required directly and indirectly) to produce the products consumed in the EU. It is calculated as RMI minus exports in RME (calculated at the aggregate product level, by material).

The break-down of RMC in dataset env_ac_rmefd is classified by final uses as defined in the System of National Accounts. An explanation of final uses in national accounts can be found in Chapter 5 of the OECD's publication 'Understanding National Accounts', second edition. In the MFA-RME by final uses dataset, these final uses are expressed in thousand tonnes of raw material equivalent and tonnes of raw material equivalent per capita.

3.5. Statistical unit

The data refer to direct and indirect material use by all resident economic units in the sense of SEEA Central Framework 2012 and the European System of Accounts (ESA), including households.

3.6. Statistical population

Not applicable, because the data are modelling estimates.

3.7. Reference area

The data refer to the European Union

3.8. Coverage - Time

Data are annual starting with the year 2000 in dataset env_ac_rme. Coverage is limited to the main material categories for 2000-2007. Modelling results for the complete list of materials is available from 2008 onwards (holds for both datasets env_ac_rme and env_ac_rmefd). See also Section 15.2 Comparability - over time.

3.9. Base period

Not applicable


4. Unit of measure Top

The material flow accounts in raw material equivalents are published in thousand tonnes and tonnes per capita.


5. Reference Period Top

The data refer to the calendar year.


6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Eurostat performs these model estimations for the aggregated EU economy on a voluntary basis.

Note that two main data inputs into the model are under legal coverage:

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

Not applicable


7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Confidential data are flagged "confidential" and not published. For aggregates of confidential data, Eurostat confidentiality rules are respected.

Note that all domestic extraction (DE) data, including confidential data, is used in the modelling exercise. However, in the published MFA-RME, confidentiality is maintained for DE data, and RMI and RMC results inherit the confidential flags from DE. As IMP_RME and EXP_RME are modelling results, these subsets of the dataset do not contain confidential values.


8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

There is no release calendar.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

Data are disseminated simultaneously to all interested parties through a database update and on Eurostat's website.


9. Frequency of dissemination Top

A complete update of the modelling results is disseminated annually. Intermediate updates are published following updates of the EW-MFA dataset to synchronise the domestic extraction (DE) data published in both datasets (see also Section 17.2).


10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

There are no online news releases.

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

The data are presented in the following Statistics Explained article:

Data extracted from material flow accounts in RME are also published in:

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult the free dataset online:

  • Material flow accounts in raw material equivalents - modelling estimates (env_ac_rme)
  • Material flow accounts in raw material equivalents by final uses of products - modelling estimates (env_ac_rmefd)

For an overview of all material flow accounts datasets see the dedicated website on material flows and resource productivity

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Output from the EU RME model used to compile the MFA-RME is also made available via the data input file for the country RME tool. This concerns the RME coefficients for imports and exports. The data input file is updated once a year, as part of the update of the country RME tool, after the update of the EU RME model. The data input file is available via the methodology page on the enviroment dedicated section (see input-output modelling and tools - raw material equivalents).

10.6. Documentation on methodology

Eurostat's estimates of MFA-RME are based on an environmentally-extended adapted domestic technology assumption input-output model. In 2016 the model has been updated to ESA 2010 / NACE Rev.2. The methodology for deriving RME conversion factors and RME indicators is described in more detail in the documentation of the EU RME model.

Material flow accounts in raw material equivalents are conceptually rooted in Economy-wide Material Flow Accounts (EW-MFA), see the EW-MFA handbook 2018 edition and the Eurostat methodological guide from 2001 on Economy-wide material flow accounts and derived indicators.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

See the documentation of the EU RME model for information on the quality management.
For the material flow accounts, national statistical institutes send quality reports based on which Eurostat prepares an overall evaluation of the data quality each year.


11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

The model that is used to derive the results has been developed by researchers with experience in the field of environmentally-extended input–output analysis.

For quality assurance of the input data see the supply, use and input–output tables metadata and the material flow accounts metadata.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

The Environmental Accounts Working Group, encompassing representatives of all Member States, Eurostat and other stakeholders, discusses quality improvements.


12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

The indicator 'Raw Material Consumption (RMC)' included in this data set is the desired lead indicator of the EU 2020 flagship initiative 'A resource efficient Europe'. However, Eurostat currently only publishes data for the aggregate EU economy. Some Member States have incidentally published data on RMC, but the methodology needs to be further developed and harmonised, and more widely applied, before RMC can be considered a mature alternative.

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

There are no systematic studies of user satisfaction. Eurostat has regular hearings with European policymakers and contacts with the research community and other stakeholders to monitor the relevance of the statistics produced and identify new priorities.

12.3. Completeness

Data encompass all the sectors of the economy in the EU. Eurostat may have gap-filled the input data. For 2000-2007 only values for the total and main material categories are published in dataset env_ac_rme. Modelling results for the complete list of materials is available from 2008 onwards (see also Section 15.2 Comparability - over time).


13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

The EW-MFA dataset (env_ac_mfa) is compiled on the basis of observable information coming from surveys and registration systems. In contrast, the estimates of trade flows in RME in the RME datasets (env_ac_rme and env_ac_rmefd) are not directly observable and are estimated using a hybrid input-output model for the aggregated EU economy. This also implies that assumptions and modelling techniques are determining the results. References to documentation on the model used by Eurostat can be found in Section 10.6.

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable


14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

Model calculations are usually undertaken in August. Results are usually published in September, 21 months after the end of the last reference year.

14.2. Punctuality

Not applicable, because there is no release calendar.


15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

Cross country comparison is not applicable within this dataset, because estimates are only produced for the aggregated EU.

Some Member States estimate material flows in RME but Eurostat does not publish these results.

15.2. Comparability - over time

The comparability over time is good because the model has remained relatively stable. Results for earlier years are recalculated each year using the latest input data available. The input data have clear statistical concepts and definitions. With the update in 2016 to ESA 2010 / NACE Rev.2 the availability of input data limits the publication of the full set of modelling results to years from 2008 onwards. Results for 2000-2007 are only published for the total and main material categories, because these values are estimated by chain-linking the 2008 results backwards using change rates from the previous Nace Rev. 1.1 dataset. 

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

The model estimates are coherent with national accounts and European environmental-economic accounts. Domestic extraction (DE) data is published both in MFA-RME and in EW-MFA, but the original source is EW-MFA. The DE data in MFA-RME is updated after each publication of EW-MFA to synchronise both datasets (see also Section 17.2). 

15.4. Coherence - internal

The internal coherence is very high, because it is ensured by the accounting framework.


16. Cost and Burden Top

Eurostat has an external contract to undertake the model estimations. Currently the costs are around 75,000 EUR per year. In addition some 10-20 working-days of Eurostat staff are spent per year.


17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

The general policy is to synchronise with revisions of the main input data, namely:

  • ESA, supply and use tables
  • Economy-wide material flow accounts
17.2. Data revision - practice

Data on domestic extraction (DE) are updated in between annual releases of the modelling results to synchronise the domestic extraction data with the updated economy-wide material flow accounts.


18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The main input data are:

For an overview of the other datasets used as input to the model, see the documentation listed in Section 10.6.

18.2. Frequency of data collection

Both data sources are collected annually.

18.3. Data collection

Both main input data are collected by Eurostat and are legally covered:

18.4. Data validation

For information on the input data validation see the supply, use and input–output tables metadata and the material flow metadata. See also the documentation listed in Section 10.6.

18.5. Data compilation

The results are obtained with environmentally-extended input–output modelling, see Section 10.6.

For information on the input data compilation see the supply, use and input–output tables metadata and the material flow metadata.

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable


19. Comment Top

In order to facilitate the compilation of material flow accounts in raw material equivalents (RME) at the country level, Eurostat has published the 'Country RME tool', accompanied by the 'Handbook country RME tool' and a file with input data. This tool allows the user to estimate country-level estimates of MFA-RME and related indicators, such as imports and exports in RME, raw material input (RMI) and raw material consumption (RMC).


Related metadata Top
env_ac_mfa_esms - Material flow accounts


Annexes Top
Economy-wide material flow accounts and derived indicatos - a methodological guide (2001)
Regulation (EU) No 691/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2011 on European environmental economic accounts
Documentation of the EU RME model
MFA data structure (Excel)
Economy-wide Material Flow Accounts (EW-MFA), Handbook 2018 edition