An inventory of environmental emissions in the EU

To monitor progress on sustainability in the EU, the Joint Research Centre of the EU asked PRé to help develop an innovative and robust large database describing environmental emissions and extractions in the EU between 1990 and 2010.


The European Commission wants to monitor progress toward sustainable consumption and production in the European Union (EU). To get insight into environmental impacts that are decoupled from economic growth, the client identified the need for life cycle based indicators. They therefore initiated the “territorial inventory” project. The project’s aim was to develop complete datasets of environmental emissions and resource extractions that took place annually in the EU27 and in each individual member state between 1990 and 2010. The project was commissioned by the Institute for Environment and Sustainability of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center and was executed by PRé together with Radboud University Nijmegen and Technical University of Denmark.


To develop such a large database, many publicly available data sources needed to be used. Despite the complexity of managing this database, the greatest challenge was to fill in the many gaps in those data sources. Together with the partners, PRé developed several innovative and scientifically robust estimation techniques to minimize uncertainty in the final results. PRé’s experience with territorial inventory data for the EU and life cycle inventory data management was very useful for managing the project. The partners provided excellent scientific input to make the project successful.

The most important results are:

  • Territorial inventory datasets (28 regions x 21 years) with more than 3000 different emissions and resource extractions, which took place annually between 1990 and 2010 in the EU27 and its individual member states.
  • Compatibility with the ILCD format and SimaPro, so the datasets can be used for analyses with several life cycle impact assessment methods.
  • A detailed report that describes the data sources and estimation techniques for optimal transparency and further development.


  • PRé enabled the monitoring of the progress of the environmental impact taking place in the territorial boundaries of the EU27 and each member state.
  • PRé contributed to scientific developments in the field of life cycle inventory data estimation techniques, which enabled the development of the territorial inventory database, which can be useful for the development of other databases.
  • PRé shared its expertise and knowledge to develop a database that is publicly available and can be used for multiple purposes, such as policy support and normalization of (regionally specified) life cycle impact assessment methods.

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