There is considerable evidence that current patterns of consumptionin European and other OECD
countries, and the production forms that they are driving by, are not sustainable. We are responsible
for a high per capita use of renewable resources and output of emissions and wastes that, if followed
by all global citizens, would exceed ecological limits several times over. Our heavy demand on global
non-renewable resources is leading to scarcity in some key resources and limiting access to these
both to developing countries today and for future generations.
For the European Environment Agency (EEA) reporting and communication on the state of the European environment is one of the core responsibilities. Indicator based reporting plays a core role for this purpose. There had been a lack of an indicator system addressing the field of SCP in a holistic way which is now filled with this project.
This set of SCP indicators will be used by the EEA (and partners) for the reporting on SCP progress in Europe as viewed from an environmental perspective. It will allow to measure progress towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns within Europe will contribute to a better understanding of the concepts of SCP and help policy development by presenting a clear picture of the scope of SCP as interpreted by the EEA & ETC-SCP team. Finally such a system will function as a communication tool.
A number of international organisations and national governments, as well as research institutions
have developed SCP indicator sets and frameworks over the last ten years. Some of the indicator sets
and frameworks cover the wider theme of sustainable development (SD), with SCP dealt with as an
individual theme or chapter while other sets are dedicated more exclusively to SCP.
The UN Commission for Sustainable Development has a mandate for selecting SD indicators developed by the Division for Sustainable Development under the Work Programme on Indicators of Sustainable Development. The first set of Indicators for Sustainable Development were defined by 1996, tested by 22 countries and finalised in 2001. The set was reviewed and revised during 2005/2006 (Pinter et al, 2005, UNDSD, 2006). The set does not give particular focus on SCP.
However, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) along with the UNCSD released a set of SCP indicators under the Work Programme on Changing Consumption and Production Patterns(IWPCCPP) in 1998 (UNDESA, 1998). These have not been updated since.
The most recent set of international/regional indicators containing some SCP indicators were developed during 2007 by Eurostat . This indicator set was developed to measure progress in the implementation of the renewed European Union Sustainable Development Strategy. Most European countries have a Sustainable Development strategy with more or less elements of SCP. A good overview is given on the website of ESDN. A more detailed review (see framework document, annex 5) of the ETC-team has been done for country sets from Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland, Sweden and UK.
The European Environment Agency uses indicators to produce reports communicating to the public as well as to policymakers the state of the environment in the EEA member countries and to review effects of environmental policies. The EEA indicator work is to be found on the indicator section of the EEA homepage. The EEA indicator section contains a Core Set of Indicators as well as more than 100 European Environmental Indicators.
The ETC SCP (formerly ETC Waste and Resources) has started developing a framework for SCP indicators since 2007.
The first indicator framework was put out to consultation with experts in the field of SCP and SCP
indicators in the autumn of 2008. The indicator framework was subsequently revised following the
first expert consultation and sent out for a second round of expert consultation during the summer
The represents of the EU-countries (EIONET) plus the group of four agreed the framework document on their conference on 24th/25th of September 2009.
Further work will have to be done on the indicator selection (best available) and assessment or to the development and research on single indicators or indices (best needed indicators).
The framework comes with several sections like vision, scope, policy context, existing approaches and so forth.
There is a set of policy questions which will be answered with the help of indicators. The overall structure is: