Environmental indicator catalogue

Why a catalogue of environmental indicators?

European and international bodies develop environmental indicators mainly for policy purposes. However, a large number of them are scattered in all dissemination media, making it difficult to identify and collect quickly all indicators related to a particular topic.

The 'Environmental indicator catalogue' responds to the need for a repository of all available indicators. It is an inventory of more than 200 European indicators, providing a one-stop shop for indicators on environmental and environment-related topics. Currently, the catalogue includes indicators produced mainly by Eurostat and the European Environment Agency (EEA), but also some indicators from the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and other international sources.

Structure of the catalogue

The catalogue is organized according to environmental themes and sub-themes. Indicators are listed under sub-themes and for each indicator there are clickable links to its data and metadata. Next to the indicator's name, its owner and code are mentioned in parenthesis. An indicator metadata file provides information on the definition, properties, dissemination and methodology for developing the indicator. Themes, sub-themes and indicators are all listed in alphabetical order.

Figure 1 – Environmental indicator catalogue structure

The catalogue is presented either as an Excel file where themes and sub-themes can be expanded and compressed or as a pdf file where all themes and sub-themes are fully expanded.

Different types of indicators

Indicators have been designed to provide an assessment of progress towards established objectives or to describe a situation or trend. The purpose and type of an indicator are determined by the questions it seeks to answer. In this context, indicators may appear in different forms. There are indicators in the form of a table with numerical data describing the evolution of a parameter over time and space. There are also indicators which combine multiple tables and graphs from different sources and focus on the assessment of progress towards targets. Eurostat's indicators are of the first type whereas EEA indicators belong to the second type. Each indicator type serves in the best way the purpose for which it was created.