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Economy-wide material flow accounts

The purpose of the Economy Wide-Material Flow Account (EW-MFA) is to provide a general picture of the type and weight of the materials (natural resources and commodities) that are, on the one hand, recovered from nature or imported and, on the other hand, exported from Denmark. The Economy Wide-Material Flow Account is one of the integrated Environmental-Economic Accounts (Green National Accounts) that is used as a term for separate accounts for environmentally related matters compiled in close relation with the National Accounts. The same boundaries, definitions and classifications are used in compilation of Green National Accounts as in National Accounts. In that way, it is possible to analyse the relationship between the economy on the one hand and the environment on the other, in a logical way.

Based on the EW-MFA and a model, developed by Eurostat, the Danish imports and exports are converted into raw material equivalents (RME), which express the amount of raw materials necessary on a global scale to be able to produce a good or a service. RME includes all raw materials extracted from nature, including the raw materials required in the production processes, both with the primary producer and with all subcontractors, domestic and foreign.

Statistical presentation

The Material Flow Account contains information on material flows in the form of the weight of Danish resource extraction, import and exports broken down by the type of materials.

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Statistical processing

Material Flow Accounts and the raw material equivalents are compiled on the basis of internal and external sources on resource extraction. The RME account is based on modelling.

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Environmental Accounts are relevant for those interested in the correlation between the economy on the one side and natural resources on the other side. The results are relevant for conducting analyses of the circular economy. Ministries and consultant firms are among the main users of environmental accounts. Accounts are included in the overall European environmental accounts, collected and compiled by Eurostat.

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Accuracy and reliability

Information concerning the material flows in the form of the weights of some different material types areas based on conversion factors from other units to kilogram's. For these types of materials some extra uncertainty is introduced by the conversion. Therefore, the information on the weights of materials is considered to be less accurate.

The raw material equivalents are based on a relatively new calculation method involving model calculations and a vast number of assumptions and estimates. Accordingly, the figures are subject to a substantial degree of uncertainty and first and foremost reflect orders of magnitude.

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Timeliness and punctuality

Data is normally published without delays.

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The Material Flow Accounts are compiled in the form of time series and is available for each year from 1993 until the last year that is published (from 2008 for the RME). The Material Flow Accounts are consistent and fully comparable within these years. Furthermore, the Material Flow accounts are comparable with the Material Flow Accounts of other EU countries compiled according to the Regulation no. 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts.

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Accessibility and clarity

These statistics are in a Danish press release. In the StatBank, these statistics can be found under the subject Material flows and waste. In addition the statistics has a subject page.

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