Towards Robust, Authoritative Assessments of Environmental Impacts Embodied in Trade: Current State and Recommendations

Tukker, Arnold and de Koning, Arjan and Owen, Anne and Lutter, Franz Stephan and Bruckner, Martin and Giljum, Stefan ORCID: and Stadler, Konstantin and Wood, Richard and Hoekstra, Rutger (2018) Towards Robust, Authoritative Assessments of Environmental Impacts Embodied in Trade: Current State and Recommendations. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 22 (3). pp. 585-598. ISSN 10881980

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Global multiregional input-output databases (GMRIOs) became the standard tool for track ing environmental impacts through global supply chains. To date, several GMRIOs are available, but the numerical results differ. This paper considers how GMRIOs can be made more robust and authoritative. We show that GMRIOs need detail in environmentally relevant sectors. On the basis of a review of earlier work, we conclude that the highest uncertainty in footprint analyses is caused by the environmental data used in a GMRIO, followed by the size of country measured in gross domestic product (GDP) as fraction of the global total, the structure of the national table, and only at the end the structure of trade. We suggest the following to enhance robustness of results. In the short term, we recommend using the Single country National Accounts Consistent footprint approach, that uses official data for extensions and the national table for the country in question, combined with embodiments in imports calculated using a GMRIO. In a time period of 2 to 3 years, we propose work on harmonized environmental data for water, carbon, materials, and land, and use the aggregated Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Inter-Country Input-Output GMRIO as default in combination with detailing procedures developed in, for example, the EXIOBASE and Eora projects. In the long term, solutions should be coordinated by the international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) Statistical Division, OECD, and Eurostat. This could ensure that when input-output tables and trade data of individual countries are combined, that the global totals are consistent and that bilateral trade asymmetries are resolved.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: embodiments in trade, footprints, pact assessment, industrial ecology, input-output analysis (IOA), statistical offices
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Ecological Economics
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2018 10:56
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2020 15:47
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