Material flow accounts (env_ac_mfa)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union


Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Dissemination format
11. Accessibility of documentation
12. Quality management
13. Relevance
14. Accuracy
15. Timeliness and punctuality
16. Comparability
17. Coherence
18. Cost and Burden
19. Data revision
20. Statistical processing
21. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)



For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT

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1. ContactTop
1.1. Contact organisationEurostat, the statistical office of the European Union
1.2. Contact organisation unitUnit E2: Environmental Accounts and Climate Change
1.5. Contact mail address2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG


2. Metadata updateTop
2.1. Metadata last certified08/11/2013
2.2. Metadata last posted08/11/2013
2.3. Metadata last update02/09/2010


3. Statistical presentationTop
3.1. Data description

The theory of Economy-wide material flow accounts (EW-MFA) includes compilations of the overall material inputs into national economies, the changes of material stock within the economic system and the material outputs to other economies or to the environment. EW-MFA covers all solid, gaseous, and liquid materials, except for water and air. Water included in products is included.

In EW-MFA two types of material flows across system boundaries are relevant:

  • Material flows between the national economy and the natural environment: this consists of the extraction of primary (i.e., raw, crude or virgin) materials from and the discharge of materials to the natural environment;
  • Material flows between the national economy and other national economies. This encompasses imports and exports. Only flows that cross the system boundary on the input-side or on the output-side are counted. Material flows within the economy are not represented in EW-MFA. 

EW-MFA are meta-compilations of data from various official statistics, most of which are regularly provided and updated by national statistical offices. It is mainly based on data from agricultural, forestry, fishery production, mining, and energy statistics. Import and export data are typically taken from foreign trade statistics although some countries use national accounts as the primary data source for the trade data.

3.2. Classification system

The classification of materials used in EW-MFA is a Eurostat based system. Domestically extracted materials are grouped into 4 main categories: Biomass, Metal ores,Non metallic minerals and Fossil energy materials/carriers. For imports and exports the products are grouped into 6 main categories: Biomass and biomass products, Metal ores and concentrates, primary and processed, Non metallic minerals, primary and processed, Fossil energy materials/carriers, primary and processed, Other products and Waste imported for final treatment and disposal.

For compilation of data different cross tables between the EW-MFA categories and International statistical classifications and nomenclatures systems are available in the EW-MFA Questionnaire. There is a correspondences between EW-MFA categories for biomass and various Eurostat statistics (such as e.g. agricultural crop statistics, forestry statistics, fishery statistics etc.). For the EW-MFA categories metal ores, non-metallic minerals and fossil energy materials there are  also  cross tables to codes of Eurostat's energy statistics/balances, PRODCOM and CPA.  For Import and Export  cross tables to all EW-MFA categories to Combined Nomenclature (CN) codes are available.

3.3. Coverage - sector

See 3.4

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Examples of indicators based on EW-MFA:
Domestic Extraction Used (DEU) is the amount of raw material (excluding water and air), in physical weight, extracted from the natural environment for use in the economy.

Physical imports (IMP) are the imports into the economy, in physical weight.

Direct Material Input (DMI) is the input of materials for use in an economy, in other words, all materials which are of economic value and which are availble for use in production and consumption activities.

Physical exports (EXP) are the exports from the economy into other economies, in physical weight.

Domestic Material Consumption (DMC), measures the total amount of materials used by an economy and is defined as the quantity of raw materials extracted from the domestic territory, plus all physical imports minus all physical exports.

Direct material input = Domestic extraction used + Physical imports

Domestic material consumption = Domestic extraction (DE) + Physical imports - Physical exports = Direct material input - Physical exports

Resource Productivity (GDP/DMC) is defined as the ratio between gross domestic product (GDP) and domestic material consumption (DMC).

 

3.5. Statistical unit

The national economy is the main statistical unit and for this geographical area the totals for domestic extraction used, total imports and total exports are developed. For EU-members, the extra EU-trade is also requested.

3.6. Statistical population

EW-MFA includes the material categories

1.Biomass and biomass products;

2. Metal ores and concentrates, raw and processed;

3. Non-metallic minerals, raw and processed;

4. Fossil energy materials/carriers, raw and processed;

5. Other products 

6. Waste imported for final treatment and disposal.

Only the input side of material flows accounts are currently published by Eurostat.

3.7. Reference area

The following regional levels are used in the database: EU27, and national data from EU member states, candidate countries plus the EFTA countries of Norway and Switzerland. If countries do not report data or incomplete data then estimates are made and published.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Full data sets that allow for the calculation of domestic material consumption (DMC) for 2000-2011 for all EU member states and some EFTA and candidate countriesare available. EU-27 estimates are also provided for this period. Some countries have also provided data for the years 1990-1999 but no estimates for missing data have been made.

3.9. Base period

Not available


4. Unit of measureTop

1000 Metric tonnes per year (code: 1000T).

For Resource productivity the units available are:

1. Euro per kilogram (code: EUR_KG)

2. Euro per kilogram where the Euro used is in chain-linked volumes, reference year 2000 at 2000 exchange rates (code: EUR_CLV00_KG)

3. Euro per kilogram where the Euro used is in chain-linked volumes, reference year 2005 at 2005 exchange rates (code: EUR_CLV05_KG)

4. PPS per kilogram where the currency unit is in purchasing power standards (code: PPS_KG)


5. Reference PeriodTop

Calendar years.


6. Institutional MandateTop
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

Data collection for economy-wide material flow accounts is based on Regulation 691/2011 on European Environmental Economic Accounts.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

There is no data sharing with other international organisations although some gap-filling procedures at Eurostat use publically available data when needed; international organisations can use the data as published in the Eurostat dissemination database. The European Environmental Agency (EEA) uses these data for a variety of monitoring and analyses.


7. ConfidentialityTop
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Confidential data is treated according to the confidentiality rules of Eurostat. If any confidential data are reported the cells are diseminated with no value and with a confidentiality flag.


8. Release policyTop
8.1. Release calendar

All non-confidential EW-MFA data collected are published at the most detailed level.

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable.

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Dissemination format') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.


9. Frequency of disseminationTop

Annual.


10. Dissemination formatTop
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

Not available

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

National reports on EW-MFA as well as previous compilations of EW-MFA data are available on the Environmental Accounts dedicated section.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

The EW-MFA data are available in the searchable Eurostat database in "Physical flow accounts" – table env_ac_mfa.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

Not applicable.

10.5. Dissemination format - other

Environmental accounts dedicated section


11. Accessibility of documentationTop
11.1. Documentation on methodology

There are a series of draft compilation guides that have supported data collection exercises. All documents have been produced only in draft form since the methodology has continued to develop during the past decade. The most current version of the manual supporting the collection of EW-MFA data is:

The compilation guides have continued to be improved in a number of ways over the years so that the most current version is the one that should be used.

As background there is another early guide on EW-MFA from available from Eurostat 2001 Economy-wide material flow accounts and derived indicators.

However, the classification of materials shown in that manual is not the most current.

11.2. Quality management - documentation

See 12. Quality management below.


12. Quality managementTop
12.1. Quality assurance

The original data collection is made by the Member States, while Eurostat only collects the assembled country compilations. The quality assurance and documentation of the quality is a joint responsibility of Eurostat and the MS depending on the producer of the underlying data source. The quality of the accounts is only as good as the quality of the underlying basic statistics.

12.2. Quality management - assessment

Data sent in by the Member States in the EW-MFA Questionnaire is checked using an Excel-based editing tool with embedded macros that checks the data for empty spaces, illegal symbols, consistency (totals and sub-totals calculated correctly, and against the previous figures reported) and plausibility. The plausibility checks also investigated the development of the time series for each material reported.


13. RelevanceTop
13.1. Relevance - User Needs

Measuring progress towards sustainable development is an integral part of the European Union´s sustainable development strategy. For this purpose, a set of sustainable development indicators has been developed by the European Commision, in cooperation with Member States, EFTA and candidate countries. The strategy foresees that Eurostat will produce a monitoring report based on this indicator set every two years. The latest SDI report can be found on the dedicated section.

EW-MFA data is used for the indicator Resource Productivity under the strategy of Sustainable consumption and production. Resource productivity provides insights into the sustainable development strategy objective to decouple economic growth from natural resource use. For more information on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources see : http://ec.europa.eu/environment/natres/index.htm

At national and international level EW-MFA data are interesting for the research community especially in the field of Industrial Ecology.

13.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

No systematic user satisfaction survey have been conducted.

13.3. Completeness

The data sets delivered by the Member States vary in level of completeness. Some data cells are missing because no proper data source was available. Missing data have been gap-filled for 2000-2011 for EU Member states, Norway and Switzerland. Full data sets are needed for calculating EU-aggregates since they are calculated by adding up the appropriate members in the different aggregates. EU-aggregates are developed by adding up the individual country data to the EU-totals (bottom-up calculation approach).


14. AccuracyTop
14.1. Accuracy - overall

See point 12.1 above.

14.2. Sampling error

Data on EW-MFA constitutes secondary statistics.

14.3. Non-sampling error

Not available


15. Timeliness and punctualityTop
15.1. Timeliness

The EW-MFA data compiled by the Member States are dependent on the release of national data for Import, Export, Agriculture, Extraction of Minerals and Fossil Fuels, trade statistics, etc., and are therefore subject to their revisions and timelines.

15.2. Punctuality

Not applicable


16. ComparabilityTop
16.1. Comparability - geographical

The use of the Eurostat MFA Compilation Guide and the calculation tools developed in the EW-MFA Questionnaire enhances the comparability between Member States. However, the data sources used for compilation of EW-MFA data by the Member States may differ in scope and quality. For the resource productivity indicator, the GDP used should be in Purchaser Power Standards so that productivity will not be influenced by differences between countries.

16.2. Comparability - over time

In the EW-MFA Questionnaire the Member States are asked to fill in data for as many years as possible from 1990 onwards, with focus on year 2000 onwards. The consistency of the dataset is checked as best as possible and therefore for that period comparability should be good. For the resource productivity indicator, the GDP has been provided using chain-linked volume to the reference year 2005 so that productivity will not be influenced by the differences in prices over time.


17. CoherenceTop
17.1. Coherence - cross domain

Theoretically  EW-MFA are consistent compilations of the overall material inputs into national economies, the changes of material stock within the economic system and the material outputs to other economies or to the environment. However, for most countries data on Domestic Processed Outputs is missing and Eurostat is not focusing on the part of EW-MFA since this is not needed for the sustainable development and structural indicators. This leads to weakness in cross domain coherence.

17.2. Coherence - internal

The data reported in the EW-MFA Questionnaire are internally coherent (totals are equal to the sum of the breakdowns).


18. Cost and BurdenTop

Depending on the level of automatisation the costs and burden range from 5 to 40 person-days per country and 40 person-days for Eurostat.


19. Data revisionTop
19.1. Data revision - policy

All data are supposed to be final. Corrections of errors are possible.

19.2. Data revision - practice

The published data should be regarded as final, unless otherwise stated. Corrections and revisions might occur.


20. Statistical processingTop
20.1. Source data

Member States collect the necessary data using a combination of the different sources specified below and applying the principle of administrative simplification:

a) surveys;

b) statistical estimation procedures in cases where some of the characteristics have not been observed for all of the units;

c) administrative sources.

20.2. Frequency of data collection

Annual.

20.3. Data collection

The original data collection is made by the Member States, while Eurostat only collects the data indirectly through standard tables sent out to the Member States. Up to 2011 survey data was collected every two yers. Starting in 2012, EW-MFA data will no longer be collected every two years but every year.

The questionnaire contains 5 sheets:

- Table A - Domestic extraction

- Table B - Imports - Total trade

- Table C - Imports - Extra-EU trade

- Table D - Exports - Total trade

- Table E- Exports- Extra-EU trade

The classification of materials used in EW-MFA is system. Domestically extracted materials are grouped into 4 main categories: Biomass, Metal ores (gross ores), Non metallic minerals and Fossil energy materials/carriers. For imports and exports the products are grouped into 6 main categories: Biomass and biomass products, Metal ores and concentrates, raw and processed, Non metallic minerals, raw and processed, Fossil energy materials/carriers, raw and processed, Other products and Waste imported for final treatment and disposal.

For compilation of data different cross tables between the EW-MFA categories and International statistical classifications and nomenclatures systems are available in the EW-MFA Questionnaire. For the EW-MFA category Biomass there is a cross table to crops statistics. For the EW-MFA categories Metal ores (gross ores) and Non metallic minerals there are  also  cross tables to CPA/PRODCOM. For Import and Export  cross table to all EW-MFA categories to the classification of Combined Nomenclature (CN) is available. 

20.4. Data validation

Before publishing the data consistent validation checks are performed and the validation of the national data is done in cooperation with the Member States. All data revisions are approved by the Member States or are flagged as estimates. 

20.5. Data compilation

In order to obtain EU aggregates and for possible calculation of the indicators DMC and/or DMI missing data are gap-filled with data from other data sources such Eurostat trade statistics, agriculture statistics, energy statistics, FAO statistics, USGS mining data, etc. as described in the compilation guidelines.

20.6. Adjustment

Not available


21. CommentTop

Not available


Related metadataTop


AnnexesTop