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Detailed material flow accounts (physical supply-use tables)

The purpose of the detailed material flow accounts is to shed light on the type and quantity of all materials (natural resources, goods, residuals) linked to industries, private and government consumption, etc. The accounts can be used for analysis of the physical proportions of resource use, output of goods and residuals, external trade, etc. Thereby they give information, which are useful in relation to analysis of circular economy, etc. The accounts are available for 2018.

Statistical presentation

The accounts present information about flows of natural resources, goods and residuals measured as tonnes per year. The accounts include all type of materials, which are used or supplied. The flows are recorded by industries and other categories, e.g. extraction from nature, imports, exports, private and government consumption, emissions to the environment, etc. The accounts are balanced, which means that the quantity of materials used by an industry equals the quantity of materials, that leaves the industry as sold products, amounts of waste, air emissions, etc.

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Statistical processing

The accounts are based on several sources, for instance, International trade in goods, Purchases and sales by manufacturing industries, and Environmental-Economic Accounts, etc. supplemented by data from reports and websites. The primary data are processed and supplemented by estimations and allocations, after which they are organised in a so-called physical supply-use table. Finally, this table is adjusted in such a way that supply equals use.

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The accounts are of relevance to all, who are interested in information about those physical material flows that take place in relation to the Danish economy. It can be used as a basis for analysis of the circular economy, e.g. for analysis of which industries that use or produce certain types of materials. In additions, the accounts may be of interest in relation to the construction of models that can shed light on the material footprint of consumption.

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Accuracy and reliability

In general it can be assumed that there are less uncertainties associated with data obtained directly from primary statistics, while data that results from estimations and allocations will be associated with more uncertainties. The balancing items, which are represented in the accounts, are to some extent a result of inaccuracies related to other items in the accounts. However, they cannot directly be used as a measure of the uncertainties since they may also reflect other special relations. No estimations of the magnitude of the uncertainties have been made.

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Timeliness and punctuality

The first version of the accounts are published four years and three month after the end of the reference period (2016). The accounts are released on time as stated in the release calendar. For future versions it is expected that the will be a lag of a little more than three years between the end of a year and the publication of a detailed material flow accounts for that year.

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The accounts are only available for 2016. This type of accounts is - as far as we know - only available for the Netherlands, but with different classifications. Thus, it is not possible to make direct international comparisons. However, for certain items it is possible to compare over time and with other countries by looking at some of the primary data that lie behind the accounts.

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Accessibility and clarity

The accounts are published via StatBank. The tables can be found by following the link: Detailed Material Flow Accounts Selected items from the accounts are published in a Danish press release.

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