Life Cycle Based Monitoring Indicators

  • Project no.3341
  • Duration 11/2009 - 10/2011

The integrative approach taken in this project underlies the development of a new type of life cycle based indicators in compliance with the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards, for quantifying and monitoring progress towards the sustainable development of the European Union. These indicators take the life cycle view of the supply chain (production, use and end-of-life), accounting for relevant environmental impacts and resources used. The life cycle perspective offers a global perspective, this means including environmental impacts occurring outside the European Union, if they are linked to national or European demand for imported goods.

This project comprised the development of the framework, methodology, data basis and updating procedure for three indicator sets:

  • resource impact indicators,
  • basket-of-products indicators,
  • waste management indicators.

The resource impact indicators shall measure the environmental impacts of the EU27 and of each Member State related to the resources used and expressed in relation to the economic performance, measured as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), arriving thus at the eco-efficiency indicators.

The basket-of-products indicators reflect the environmental impacts and the resources consumption associated with the final consumption of an average citizen in the EU27 over the entire life cycle of goods and services. They are based on apparent final consumption and cover several demand categories (nutrition, shelter, consumer goods, mobility and services), considering a range of specific product groups that meet these needs.

The waste management indicators assess the environmental impacts related to the management of the - environmentally - most relevant waste streams, covering their entire waste management chain. They also include recycling/recovery and the final deposition of any remaining wastes.

The Wuppertal Institute contributed to this indicators development in particular based on its expertise in economy-wide natural resource use accounting (materials, land, water, energy) and outputs to the environment.

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