Towards a Governance Structure for Sustainable Development
ESRI Studies Series on the Environment
Edited by Raimund Bleischwitz and Peter Hennicke
Chapter 5: Bridging the data gap
Stephan Moll, Stefan Bringezu, Dirk Assmann, Thomas Hanke, Holger Wallbaum and Raimund Bleischwitz 5.1 INTRODUCTION Research on sustainable development, strategies and actions of policy makers, business and interest groups critically rely on information. In particular long term-oriented scenarios as useful decision support tools (as analysed in the Wuppertal Institute, 2001, first interim report) require data on certain items. In this chapter we attempt to address the data gap in sustainable development policies. The chapter responds to the needs of researchers and statistical offices who insistently demand data for various tasks and focuses on the topics of material flows, energy and buildings in their relation to the concepts of ecoefficiency. 5.2 MATERIAL FLOWS Policies towards a ‘Recycle-Oriented Society’ (Clean Japan Center, 2000) or towards the ‘Sustainable use of natural resources and management of waste’ (CEC, 2001c) have to build on information on the physical performance at the macro-economic level (‘You can better manage what you can measure’). In order to design policy measures for increased eco-efficiency and dematerialization it is necessary to know how many and which resources are used by whom for which end-users and how efficient are those resources used. Material flow accounting (MFA) refers to a number of methodologies to describe national economies in a physical way (WI, 2001). MFA has been developed by research and is increasingly used by official authorities. MFA is part of official statistics in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the European Union, as shown in Table 5.1 (for...
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