SDG 12 - Responsible consumption and production (statistical annex)
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns (statistical annex)
Data extracted in August 2018
Planned article update: September 2019
This article provides an overview of statistical data on SDG 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’ in the European Union (EU). It is based on the set of EU SDG indicators for monitoring of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an EU context.
This article is part of a set of statistical articles, which are based on the Eurostat publication ’Sustainable development in the European Union — Monitoring report - 2018 edition’. This report is the second edition of Eurostat’s series of monitoring reports on sustainable development, which provide a quantitative assessment of progress of the EU towards the SDGs in an EU context.
Consumption of toxic chemicals
The indicator measures the volume of aggregated consumption of chemicals, expressed in million tonnes. The consumption of chemicals is calculated as the sum of the production volumes and the net import volumes of the chemicals according to the equation: consumption = production + imports – exports. The data on hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals show the total consumption of all chemicals regardless of their hazardousness. The two sub-categories on consumption of hazardous chemicals – hazardous to human health and hazardous to the environment – overlap by definition and data cannot be summed up.
As Figure 1 indicates, the amount of toxic chemicals used in the EU declined only slightly over the past decade. Between 2004 and 2016, the consumption of chemicals hazardous to the environment and chemicals hazardous to health fell by 0.92 % and 0.94 % on average per year, respectively. In the short term since 2011, the average yearly decline has been stronger for chemicals hazardous to the environment (- 0.97 %) than for chemicals hazardous to health (- 0.21 %).
Resource productivity and domestic material consumption
Resource productivity is defined as gross domestic product (GDP) divided by [[Glossary:Domestic_material_consumption_(DMC)|domestic material consumption] (DMC). DMC measures the total amount of materials directly used by an economy. It is calculated as the annual quantity of raw materials extracted from the domestic territory of the focal economy, plus all physical imports, minus all physical exports. As shown in Figure 2, the EU has become more productive in its material use since 2000. Over the long-term period from 2002 to 2017, the EU’s resource productivity rose by an average of 1.9 % per year. In the short term from 2012 to 2017, the productivity gains slowed down slightly, with an average growth of 1.4 % per year.
The EU material demand has declined since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008. Between 2002 and 2017, DMC in the EU fell by 0.5 % on average per year. However, in the short term since 2012, DMC has increased by 0.3 % per year on average, following the economic recovery.
A closer look at the components of DMC shows that the long-term reduction was driven mainly by a slowdown in domestic extraction of 8.5 % between 2002 and 2017. Domestic extraction accounted for about 85 % of DMC and was therefore one of the main drivers behind the DMC dynamics between 2002 and 2017. Imports of materials have risen by 15.1 % since 2002, accounting for 25.5 % of DMC in 2017.
Average CO2 emissions per km from new passenger cars
The indicator is defined as the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per km by new passenger cars in a given year. The reported emissions are based on type-approval and can deviate from the actual CO2 emissions of new cars. Data presented in this section are provided by the European Commission, the Directorate-General for Climate Action and the Environmental European Agency (EEA).
As shown in Figure 5, the EU has made progress towards a cleaner car fleet over the past decade, although the trend has slowed down in recent years. Between 2007 and 2017, emissions fell by 2.9 % per year on average, whereas in the short term from 2012 to 2017 the decline amounted to an average of only 2.2 % per year. While the target for 2015 was met two years in advance, further progress seems necessary to reach the 2021 target.
Circular material use rate
The circular material use rate (CMU) measures the degree of circular (secondary) materials in the economy in relation to the overall material use. A higher amount of secondary materials substituting primary raw materials avoids extraction of primary material. The CMU is calculated as the ratio of the amount of secondary raw materials to the overall material input for domestic use.
Figure 7 shows an almost continuous rise in the share of secondary materials in the EU’s overall material usage since 2004. Between 2004 and 2014, the CMU rate increased by 3.2 % on average per year. However, growth was lower in the short term period from 2009 to 2014, with an annual average increase of 1.3 %.
Generation of waste excluding major mineral wastes
This indicator is defined as all waste generated in a country, excluding major mineral wastes, dredging spoils and contaminated soils. This exclusion enhances comparability across countries as mineral waste accounts for high quantities in some countries with important economic activities such as mining and construction.
As shown in Figure 9, generation of waste — excluding major mineral wastes — has declined in the EU over the past decade. The per capita amount of waste (excluding major mineral wastes) fell by 1.0 % on average per year between 2004 and 2014. The reduction was lower in the short term, with an annual average decrease of 0.01 % between 2010 and 2014.
Recycling rate of waste excluding major mineral wastes
The indicator measures the share of a country’s – or the EU’s – own waste that is recycled. ‘Recycling’ means any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances, whether for the original or other purposes. It does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials that are to be used as fuels or for backfilling operations. Major mineral wastes, dredging spoils and contaminated soils are excluded. The data reflect the treatment of national waste and exclude waste that is imported from non-EU countries.
Figure 11 indicates a slight increase in the recycling rate of waste. Between 2010 and 2014, the EU recycling rate grew by 0.9 % on average per year. Figure 12 shows that the biggest part of waste that is not recycled is deposited onto or into land.
More detailed information on EU SDG indicators for monitoring of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as indicator relevance, definitions, methodological notes, background and potential linkages, can be found in the introduction of the publication ’Sustainable development in the European Union — Monitoring report - 2018 edition’.