What is the resource efficiency about?
Resource efficiency means using the Earth's limited resources in a sustainable manner while minimising impacts on the environment. It allows us to create more with less and to deliver greater value with less input.
Resource-efficient Europe is part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU's growth strategy for a smart, inclusive and sustainable economy. It supports the shift towards sustainable growth via a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy.
The Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe sets out a framework for the design and implementation of future actions. It also outlines the structural and technological changes needed by 2050, including milestones to be reached by 2020.
The Communication "Towards a Circular Economy" further promotes a fundamental transition in the EU, away from a linear economy where resources are not simply extracted, used and thrown away, but are put back in the loop so they can stay in use for longer. It sets out measures driving a more efficient use of resources and waste minimisation.
Eurostat's role is to provide easy access to the relevant data for citizens and policy makers in order to support the monitoring progress. To that end, Eurostat published a resource efficiency scoreboard.
Eurostat strives to make sure that the quality of the indicators presented in the scoreboard fulfils the statistical standards as set up in the European Statistics Code of Practice. While this can be assured for a large part of the indicators, in certain cases usually related to data provided from other sources, there is no complete evidence that the indicators fit to all the quality dimensions required in the Code of Practice. In those cases, the metadata files to the indicators outline the pending quality issues.
A large number of the indicators based on Eurostat data are collected in the frame of statistical legal acts that set requirements to Member States to provide the information according to strict quality standards. In other cases, the basic data is not subject to legal acts but is collected regularly under so-called Gentlemen's Agreements with a sufficient guarantee of their quality.
The European Statistical System is currently developing a legal framework for the regular production of different modules of environmental accounts according to a UN standard, the System of Economic Environmental Accounting (SEEA). At present, six modules on air emissions, environmental taxes, material flow accounts, physical energy flows, environmental goods and services sectors and environmental protection accounts are legally adopted. Some indicators included in the scoreboard use environmental accounts as basic information, thus offering several advantages. The environmental accounts provide detailed breakdowns by economic sector for these indicators and also permit to connect them to economic frameworks, such as national accounts, allowing combined analysis of economic and environmental aspects. It is expected that in the future these analytical possibilities will permit the scoreboard to be complemented in particular with footprint type indicators that analyse the environmental impacts through the whole global economic cycle.