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Knowledge category: Tools and methods

A Circular Economy Monitor for Flanders

Updated on 23.05.2023

This short-term assignment for Circular Flanders called Indicators for a Circular Economy aims to provide an inventory of indicators that are relevant to monitor the transition to a circular economy (CE) and to measure the effects of new policy and trends.

Author: Circular Flanders
Year of update: 2023

More information

The indicators are divided into different layers/categories: circularity; effects; housing; food; consumer goods; and mobility. When the user clicks on a layer (e.g. Mobility), a page with indicators is presented. The user can further explore the indicators by clicking on each of them to see information about the indicator (what it measures and what is its purpose).

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

This webpage is about CE indicators in Flanders. These indicators are meant to support in measuring how far and fast CE has progressed in Flanders. The monitor combines more than 100 indicators divided into different layers:

  • circularity (brings together indicators that portray the circularity of the entire Flemish economy focusing on inflow, R-strategies and outflow);
  • effects (shows the materials footprint of CE; the ecological effects of CE: on soil and the climate; the socio-economic effects of CE: jobs, business turnover and business models);
  • housing (focuses on the ‘housing’ need system: how Flanders live and build, what is the footprint of the buildings, what undesirable effects does it have and what favourable trends are seen);
  • food (focuses on the ‘food’ need system: what resources Flanders use, what is the impact of consumption, what waste streams are created and how are they reused);
  • consumer goods (focuses on the ‘consumer goods’ need system: how many appliances and furniture Flanders have, how much is reused and repaired and what waste does all stuff create);
  • mobility (focuses on the need system ‘mobility’: how do people move themselves and their goods, what is the footprint and what is the life cycle of vehicles in Flanders, from purchase to scrapping).

Every indicator has a page explaining what is measured using that indicator and what is the aim. Together the indicators aim to provide a snapshot of where Flanders stand on its path to circularity. Cities and regions can draw inspiration from this experience when defining the indicators that are suitable for measuring their progress towards CE. Having a comprehensive set of indicators can support in identifying where the change is needed the most and where the blind spots are, prompting to reflect on potential Circular Systemic Solutions that can help address current barriers and bring about changes where they are most needed.

How to use this tool or method

The inventory of indicators is based on scoreboards and monitoring frameworks developed by the EU and reports by JRC and EEA. This list is supplemented with indicators known by the authors and a literature search, representing a first step towards the development of a CE index.

The scope of indicators varies largely. For example, material flow indicators can focus on global figures, but also on a specific substance content in a component. This study distinguishes between macro, meso and micro level indicators. An extensive list of indicators discussed in literature and related to CE is developed – of which a selection is discussed more in detail in fact sheets. The fact sheets report different aspects of the indicator: definition and scope; data availability; level of detail; future developments; links to CE; and the availability of a benchmark (policy targets, etc.). Indicators related to the CE can be classified according to different criteria.