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International Experience in Establishing Indicators for the Circular Economy

Considerations for China, by Dr. Laszlo Pinter

International Institute for Sustainable Development | March 2006

CREDIT: Jack (CC).

China's important role in international trade and its impact on the environment makes it of primary importance to align China's industrial metabolism with the principle of circular economy. While the development of CE indicators continues to have challenges, significant progress during the last decade has made the integration of CE-focused material and energy flow measures feasible. Based on this brief study, the following are provided for consideration as NDRC proceeds with the establishment of a CE indicator system:

–Build on the accepted concept, terminology and methods of material flow analysis and accounting, successfully applied by a range of countries;
–Ensure the indicators have a stable institutional home and the program is well resourced and has the required capacity;
–In order to ensure the availability (or development) of sufficient data into the future, CE and MFA indicators should be closely integrated with the system of national accounts, following particularly the conventions established by the System of Integrated Economic and Environmental Accounts;
–The work on economy-wide metabolism and indicators should be accompanied by meso and micro level work on sub-accounts and indicators on the municipal and firm level, recognizing that in many cases this will require the integration of CE-relevant indicators into broader xiaokang or sustainability indicator sets;
–Explore ways of communicating and using CE and MFA indicators to analyze some of China's most pressing domestic sustainability problems and its impact on the rest of the world, and develop policy or technical scenarios to address highest priority issues in the future;
–Pursue a vigorous program of exchange and collaboration with the international MFA practitioner community to facilitate mutual learning.

Download: International Experience in Establishing Indicators for the Circular Economy: Considerations for China (PDF, 412.53 K)

Read More: Development, Economy, Energy, Environment, Science, Technology, Trade, China, Asia

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