National Indicator Sets

Overview of International Organisation indicator sets | Overview of National indicator sets

Several countries have developed and utilised indicators for SCP. This includes efforts to develop complete frameworks of SCP indicators and to develop individual SCP-related indicators as part of wider indicator frameworks on economic and sustainable development. Research organisations have also conducted work on SCP indicators (e.g. The Society of Non-Traditional Technology, Japan). Two example initiatives are discussed briefly below.

United Kingdom

A set of national sustainable development indicators was developed and consulted on as part of the UK's sustainable development strategy. They represent the four UK priorities, including SCP. There are presently 25 sustainable consumption and production indicators. The UK Government is in the process of updating their set of SCP indicators.

Sustainable Consumption and Production (Figure 13)
Indicator Topic Indicator Topic
Greenhouse gas emissions 
E.g. Kyoto target and CO2 emissions, 1990 to 2012
E.g. Waste arisings by sector, 1998-9 to 2002-3
Carbon dioxide emissions by end user 
E.g. CO2 emissions from industry, domestic, transport sectors (excluding international aviation and shipping), 1990 to 2005
Household waste per person
E.g. Recycled or composted, 1991-2 to 2005-6
Aviation and shipping emissions 
E.g. Greenhouse gases from UK-based international aviation and shipping fuel bunkers, 1990 to 2005
Agriculture sector
E.g. Fertiliser input, farmland bird population, ammonia and methane emissions and output, 1974 to 2006
Household energy use 
E.g. Domestic CO2 emissions, domestic energy consumption and household spending, 1990 to 2005
Land recycling
E.g. New dwellings built on previously developed land or through conversions, 1990 to 2006
Road transport 
E.g. CO2, NOx, PM10 emissions from road transport and Gross Domestic Product, 1990 to 2005
Fish Stocks 
E.g. Sustainability of fish stocks around the UK, 1998 to 2005
Private cars 
E.g. Private car CO2 emissions, car-kilometres and household spending, 1990 to 2005
Emissions of air pollutants 
E.g. NH3, NOx, PM10 and SO2 emissions and GDP, 1990 to 2005
Road freight 
E.g. Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) CO2 emissions, freight moved and Gross Domestic Product, 1990 to 2005
River quality 
E.g. Rivers of good biological quality, 1990 to 2005
Manufacturing sector 
E.g. CO2, NOx, SO2, PM10, emissions and output, 1990 to 2005
Economic growth 
E.g. Gross Domestic Product, 1990 to 2006
Service sector 
E.g. CO2, NOx emissions and output, 1990 to 2005
E.g. International comparisons of productivity growth, 1991 to 2005
Public sector 
E.g. CO2, NOx emissions and output, 1990 to 2005
E.g. Total investment and social investment relative to GDP, 1990 to 2006
Resource use 
E.g. Domestic Material Consumption and Gross Domestic Product, 1990 to 2005
E.g. Population and population of working age, 1970 to 2006
Water resource use 
E.g. Total abstractions from non-tidal surface and ground water, leakage losses and Gross Domestic Product, 1990 to 2005
Households and dwellings 
E.g. Households, single person households and dwelling stock, 1971 to 2004
Domestic water consumption 
E.g. Litres per person per day, 1995 to 2005


In 2002, the Centre for Sustainable Development (Ghent University, Belgium) developed a set of SCP indicators (PDF - 174 KB) for Belgium. The study also considered measures for evaluating specific SCP policies. The methodology aims to cover the four pillars of sustainability. The social pillar is covered by ethical, equality and participation indicators. However, no targets are included - all indicators are directional only. The final result is a set of twenty-five indicators. The indicators are partly used in the Federal Reports on sustainable development and in particular in the 'Tableau d'indicateurs de développement durable' published in 2005 as a supplement of the third Federal Report on Sustainable Development 2000-2004.

Sustainable Consumption and Production (Figure 14)
Number of companies with a certified eco-management and/or socio-management audit system
Total Material Requirement (TMR) per GDP
The total amount of used packaging material by companies per GDP
Total energy use in the industry sectors per GDP
Share of electricity from renewable sources (wind, water, sun, earth heat and biomass) on the Belgian electricity market
Total amount of tonne-kilometres on Belgian roads per GDP
Total tap and ground water consumption by companies per GDP
Total waste production by companies per GDP
The emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 en N2O) in CO2-equivalents from companies
Surplus on nutrient balance
Share of total agriculture area used for organic agriculture
Surpluses of the Belgian agricultural sector
Companies with 20 employees or more without trade union representation
Number of cases of labour diseases and accidents
Number of employees in a position of trust per 100 employees
Number of products taken off the shelves
Number of relevant charges of misleading consumer information
Market share of labelled products (Iso type I)
Average amount of kilometres per vehicle per year (total amount of road kilometres  per year per size of Belgian vehicle fleet)
Share of imported food compared to locally produced food
Share of ethical trusts in the total investments
Amount of granted construction licences for new houses compared to amount of granted licences for renovations
Total domestic energy consumption per inhabitant
Total domestic tap or ground water consumption per inhabitant
Total amount of domestic waste per inhabitant

SCP indicators integrated in other indicator sets

Most national development plans including PRSPs and NSDSs include some indicators of SCP. These often include eco-efficiency and decoupling indicators in European countries and agriculture or natural resource management and sometimes eco-efficiency indicators in developing countries. The following table provides a snapshot of the types of SCP indicators used in some selected countries. 

Examples of SCP indicators included in other indicator sets (Figure 15)
Selected themes
South Africa
Cleaner Production / Eco-efficiency
Consumption patterns
Corporate responsibility

Note: This table provides an indication only of the types of SCP indicators used in these selected countries. Information collected from government websites and relevant government publications such as national development plans and national sustainable development strategies