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Knowledge category: Tools and methods

Indicators for circular economy transition in cities

Updated on 18.11.2022

The European Commission provides a general monitoring framework for the circular economy (CE). It aims to help understand how the various elements of the CE are developing over time; help identify success factors in Member States, and assess whether sufficient action has been taken. The general monitoring framework is composed of a set of key indicators capturing the main elements of the CE.

Author: Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy
Year of update: 2019

More information

The framework consists of 10 indicators (including subindicators), as follows:

  • self-sufficiency for raw materials;
  • green public procurement;
  • waste generation;
  • food waste generation;
  • overall recycling rates;
  • recycling rates for specific waste streams;
  • contribution of recycled materials to raw materials demand;
  • trade in recyclable raw materials;
  • patents; and
  • private investments, jobs and gross value added in CE business.

The framework offers a useful reference point for cities to develop CE indicators, providing multiple considerations.

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

The Partnership on CE has identified the lack of indicators for monitoring and reporting achievements as a bottleneck for cities implementing a CE. Using the Urban Agenda and the Partnership’s framework, the paper maps existing CE indicator frameworks that support cities to self-assess achievements, identify barriers and opportunities, and develop a CE.

How to use this tool or method

The indicators are set under different themes, such as production and consumption, waste management, and secondary raw materials, among others. The user can navigate through these themes to discover relevant indicators and use these indicators as guidelines for implementation in their own economy.

Type of tool or method

Circular economy indicators

Impacts

Increased recycling rates

Dematerialisation

Competitiveness and innovation

Equality of opportunities/Just transition toward a sustainable and inclusive circular economy

Education, knowledge, training and reskilling

Social aspects

Training/reskilling/capacity building, including vocational education and training, continuous training

e.g. for public administrations, SMEs, start-up

Awareness raising and education

all actors

Territories involved

Cities

large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

EU