Presentation on theme: "Ralf Becker United Nations Statistics Division"— Presentation transcript:
1 Ralf Becker United Nations Statistics Division Adapting statistical classifications to green growth measurementRalf BeckerUnited Nations Statistics Division
2 Green growth is about fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that the natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. To do this it must catalyse investment and innovation which will underpin sustained growth and give rise to new economic opportunities.(OECD: Towards Green Growth, 2011)
3 Policies need to be supported by data Green growth encompasses two paths: "greening growth" and harnessing new growth possibilities from environmental considerationsPolicies need to be supported by datameasurability becomes key pointcombining data/indicators from different areasexisting indicators and new indicators
4 Needed: a consistent environment-economy accounting framework Economic and environmental data exist, frameworks exist (SNA, FDES) but:it is often difficult to integrate them due to differences inClassificationsTerminology (also within classifications)TimelinessUnits (“natural” units vs. administrative units)Needed: a consistent environment-economy accounting frameworkWith the SEAA and FDES, such systems are now being developed / updatedClassifications that link relevant concepts/categories
5 Within these frameworks, classifications of various components are being developed to support a general measurementThese are sometimes new classifications, targeted particularly at measuring environmental components or links to specific economic componentsExample: classifications of environmental goods and servicesMany of these will be useful for measurement issues related to green growth
6 Classifications used / developed within these systems: Environment statisticsClassification of Water UseClassification of Freshwater Quality for the Maintenance of Aquatic LifeClassification of Marine Water QualityClassification of Land UseClassification of WastesClassification of Ambient Air QualityClassification of Flora, Fauna and BiotopesClassification of Environment Protection Activities and Facilitiesall are ECE classifications developed ~1990not pure classifications in the strict sense - multiple hierarchies, include measurement issueshave been used for international data collection extensively by ECE, OECD/Eurostat and UNSD
7 Classifications used / developed within these systems: SEEA (currently under revision)Classification of assetsClassification of physical flowsClassification of Environment Protection Activities and expenditures (CEPA)Classification of Resource Use and Management Activities and expenditures (CRUMA)Classification of Environmental Activities (CEA = CEPA + CRUMA)Linkages between the environmental and the economic classifications facilitate the integration of data
8 Integrating dataProblems arise when data are collected / are available through existing programmes, using existing classificationsIn such cases:a link to green growth issues may not be directly possiblea link to classifications developed for such purposes may be difficultThis applies to most economic data (e.g. production, trade)Example: Production / trade of goods / pricesuses classifications like CPC, CPA, Prodcom, HSdetailed information collected from producers etc.
9 Adapting classifications Can existing economic classifications be adapted to suit the needs for data on green growth?Key question: What information related to green growth do we want to reflect in the classification?What criteria do we use to identify relevant industries/products/expenditures/programmes etc.?Are these criteria compatible with the principles of the classification?Are resulting classifications still applicable for their original purposes?How are links to other classifications affected?
10 Existing efforts:Identify “environment-related products” in existing classificationsE.g. done by WTO (using Harmonized System)Synthesis of submissions on environmental goods (TN/TE/W/63)Based on certain characteristics of the final product, typically related to useDoes not (yet) affect the classification itselfReflects an “alternative aggregation”Preferable method if necessary product detail exists
11 Can products already be classified as "green products" or not? Depends on definition of "green product“if all inputs are to be considered, this will be near impossibleA decision on whether or not a product is “green” will depend not only on its characteristics, but also on the inputs and processes used to produce itReflecting the "greening growth“ componentExample: aluminum refiningrequires electricityelectricity could come from a solar power plant or coal fired plantthe characteristics of the product itself are not affectedDo we want to make a distinction based on the source of electricity?Where can this be observed? Where/how can the classification be applied? (e.g. point of production, trade)
12 Example: Manufacturing of a good resulting in waste as a by-product The process can reuse the waste, treat the waste or just discard the wastethe characteristics of the produced product are not affectedDo we want to make a distinction based on impact of the product’s production on the environment?Carbon footprintCan be measured for each product (maybe), but can a distinction be embedded in the classification?
13 Reasons for caution:It may be possible to define detailed categories in a classification that correspond to data needs, but:Are these categories still observable?E.g. for activities – does sufficient specialization exist?Are existing rules for the application of the classification supportive of the desired purposeE.g. rules for treatment of multiple activities or bundled products or multi-purpose expenditures
14 Classifications (even the multi-purpose type) are usually designed for describing objects in certain settingsE.g. at point of production, point of trade or point of consumptionApplying the classification at a different point may create measurement issuesE.g. carbon footprint issue in trade“Eco-labeling” may helpDepends on local regulation -> comparability issuesMay define a larger scope than appropriate for green growth
15 Classifications affected Traditional classification families that are potential targets for review under a “green growth” agenda:Industry/activityProductsOccupationsEducationR&D programmesFinancial flows
16 Additional considerations: International Standard ClassificationsRequire stability over timeShould be applicable to most countriesSmaller countries may not be able to use detailed categories of the classificationLimits are often tested with current classification detailsResults:Use of higher levels as proxiesUse of different aggregationsLoss of comparability of data
17 ConclusionsInformation on green growth requires data from different fields, based on solid classificationsExisting classifications can be exploited through use of alternative aggregations, if necessary detail exists, to provide standard definitions/aggregatesIntroducing new concepts in existing classifications requires cautionIntroducing additional detail in existing classifications requires considerations of conceptual consistency, measurability and of the targeted users of the classification (e.g. data providers)Not all new data needs require a change in classification