Economy-wide material flow accounts and derived indicators: a methodological guide

Economy-wide material flow accounts and derived indicators: a methodological guide
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities
1.01 This Guide focuses on material flow accounts (MFA) and balances for a whole economy. These
economy-wide material flow accounts and balances show the amounts of physical inputs into an
economy, material accumulation in the economy and outputs to other economies or back to nature as
illustrated by Figure 1.

1.02 Most statistical institutes in Europe have the experience and data needed to compile economy-wide
MFA and balances (see Eurostat 1997). Work at Eurostat includes projects on the policy use of
material flow information, physical input-output tables and economy-wide MFA and balances. Since
the first economy-wide MFA and balances for Austria (Steurer 1992) and Japan (Environmental
Protection Agency 1992) many researchers and statisticians have used similar approaches. Within the
EU, economy-wide MFA are now available for Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria,
Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
1.03 Research has advanced in recent years and standard concepts and formats are evolving. The
European Commission funded ConAccount project (1996-1997) and the international projects leading
to the publication of ‘Resource Flows: the material basis of industrial economies' (Adriaanse et al
1997) and ‘The Weight of Nations - material outflows from industrial economies' (Matthews et al 2000)
were important steps towards internationally comparable data based on harmonised approaches.
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