CML and WRF Organise Resource Index Session at Industrial Ecology Conference

ISIE 2015 Surrey AnnouncementSurrey (UK), 29 June 2015 The development of an integrated resource index of nations will be the theme of a scientific expert session organised back-to-back with the International Society for Industrial Ecology Conference 2015, in Surrey, Monday 6 July. The session will be organised by CML, Leiden University and the WRF Secretariat. The ISIE Conference 2015 in Surrey runs from 7-10 July.

The resource index expert session will start on Monday 6 July at 4 pm and have the following agenda:

  • 10 min: Welcome and introduction by Bas de Leeuw, WRF Managing Director
  • 20 min: Presentation of discussion document ‘Towards a resource index of nations’ (Arnold Tukker, CML, Leiden University and TNO, Netherlands)
  • 20 min: Reaction of panellists: Stephanie Hellweg (ETH), Mark Huijbregts (Nijmegen), Francesca Verones (NTNU)
  • 40-50 min: General discussion with the audience

IMG_20150629_145551WRF and CML with other partners have been working on the development of an integrated resource use or resource-efficiency index of nations, as a counterpart of the well-known Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that measures economic activity of nations. The index should not only include materials use, but also the use of other resources, such as water and land. As a first step in the development of this index, the WRF secretariat asked the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University, the Netherlands, to write a short discussion paper on how such an index could be set up. The paper has already been discussed with various stakeholders from science and policy, and discussions will go on during the ISIE Conference 2015  and the WRF conference in October 2015 in Davos.

The current draft of the discussion paper will be circulated to participants. The conclusions so far can be summarised as follows:

  1. At least materials, water and land should be included in the index. Inclusion of carbon is controversial, since not a resource in strict terms but related to impacts. Both a consumption- as production perspective is relevant.
  2. For water, a reasonable consensus exists how to create an index that takes into account water scarcity at the point of extraction (most notably in the form of the water stress index proposed by Pfister et al.. For land use and materials only moderate to low consensus exists of how to aggregate within these resource categories.
  3. There is also low consensus about weighting/aggregating across resource categories. Options to consider include panel methods or methods converting individual resource use values for water, land and materials to indices between 0 and 1 followed by multiplication and taking the cube root of the 3 indices to come to a single indicator, as done e.g. in calculating the Human Development Indices from 3 other partial indices.

More information on the venue and on registration is available on the following page:

For information about the workshop, feel free to write to workshop coordinator at WRF: Cecilia Matasci ( or to at Arnold Tukker, CML, Leiden University,

Austin Pearce
Austin Pearce