Material flow-based indicators for evaluation of eco-efficiency and dematerialisation policies

Giljum, S. (2006)

In: Lawn, P. (Ed.) Sustainability indicators in Ecological Economics. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. pp. 376-398.

This chapter argues that new approaches to environmental governance must take a systemic view of the economy-environment relationship recognising that current environmental problems are to a large extent the consequence of the overall scale of anthropogenic resource use. Any monitoring of eco-efficiency policies therefore requires appropriate information on the relationship between socio-economic activities and their subsequent environmental impacts. Economy-wide material flow accounting and analysis (MFA) is presented as an accounting framework, which facilitates the compilation of consistent databases for policy-oriented analyses of economy-environment interactions. The chapter presents selected examples to reveal how the MFA approach and derived material flow indicators can be used for the evaluation of sustainability-oriented policies. Finally, the chapter discusses the main deficiencies of the MFA approach and introduces possible extensions to the current MFA framework to overcome them.

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