Headline Environmental Indicators Revisited with the Global Multi‐Regional Input‐Output Database EXIOBASE

9 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2018

See all articles by Zoran J.N. Steinmann

Zoran J.N. Steinmann

Radboud University Nijmegen

Aafke M. Schipper

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Environmental Science

Konstantin Stadler

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) - Department of Industrial Economics and Technology

Richard Wood

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Arjun de Koning

Leiden University - CML, Department Industrial Ecology

Arnold Tukker

Leiden University - Centre of Environmental Science (CML)

Mark Huijbregts

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Environmental Science

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

Environmentally extended multiregion input‐output (EEMRIO) databases are used to quantify numerous environmental pressures and impacts from a consumption perspective. However, for targeted communication with decision makers, large sets of impact indicators are unfavorable. Small sets of headline indicators have been proposed to guide environmental policy, but these may not cover all relevant aspects of environmental impact. The aim of our study was to evaluate the extent to which a set of four headline indicators (material, land, water, and carbon) is representative of the total environmental impact embedded in an EEMRIO database. We also used principal component analysis combined with linear regression to investigate which environmental indicators are good candidates to supplement this headline indicator set, using 119 environmental indicators linked to the EEMRIO database, EXIOBASE. We found that the four headline indicators covered 59.9% of the variance in product‐region rankings among environmental indicators, with carbon and land already explaining 57.4%. Five additional environmental indicators (marine eco‐toxicity, terrestrial eco‐toxicity, photochemical oxidation, terrestrial acidification, and eutrophication) were needed to cover 95% of the variance. In comparison, a statistically optimal set of seven indicators explained 95% of the variance as well. Our findings imply that there is (1) a significant statistical redundancy in the four headline indicators, and (2) a considerable share of the variance is caused by other environmental impacts not covered by the headline indicators. The results of our study can be used to further optimize the set of headline indicators for environmental policy.

Keywords: EEMRIO, environmental indicator, EXIOBASE, industrial ecology, input‐output analysis (IOA), principal component analysis (PCA)

Suggested Citation

Steinmann, Zoran J.N. and Schipper, Aafke M. and Stadler, Konstantin and Wood, Richard and de Koning, Arjun and Tukker, Arnold and Huijbregts, Mark, Headline Environmental Indicators Revisited with the Global Multi‐Regional Input‐Output Database EXIOBASE (June 2018). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 22, Issue 3, pp. 565-573, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3189132 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12694

Zoran J.N. Steinmann (Contact Author)

Radboud University Nijmegen

Postbus 9108
Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

Aafke M. Schipper

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Environmental Science ( email )

Comeniuslaan 4, 6525 HP
Nijmegen
Netherlands

Konstantin Stadler

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) - Department of Industrial Economics and Technology ( email )

NO-7491 Trondheim
Norway

Richard Wood

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) ( email )

Høgskoleringen
Trondheim NO-7491, 7491
Norway

Arjun De Koning

Leiden University - CML, Department Industrial Ecology ( email )

PO Box 9518
Leiden, ZH NL-1012DE
Netherlands

Arnold Tukker

Leiden University - Centre of Environmental Science (CML)

2300 RA Leiden
Netherlands

Mark Huijbregts

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Environmental Science

Comeniuslaan 4, 6525 HP
Nijmegen
Netherlands

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