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MIRA study report: Research into policy applications of environmentally extended input-output models

In the period 2007-2010, as commissioned by OVAM, VMM-MIRA and LNE, VITO and the Federal Planning Bureau developed the Flemish environmentally extended input-output model (EE-IO model). This model systematically links economic data to environmental and employment data, for the entire world economy.

As such, it allows the charting and detailed analysis of the impact of production and consumption activities and patterns on the environment, economy and employment, throughout the entire value chain. The model has already been used for various (policy) studies, but its potential was not yet sufficiently known. That is why MIRA commissioned VITO to further examine the potential of the Flemish EE-IO model for supporting environment-related policy.

The power of EE-IO models is that they provide insight into both the direct and indirect impact of production and consumption on the environment and economy and possibly also on employment. In 2012, MIRA asked VITO to use the Flemish EE-IO model to chart the environmental impact of Flemish production and consumption. Answers were provided to questions such as: ‘Which economic sectors and which consumption activities in Flanders cause the greatest environmental pressures?’, ‘Where do these environmental pressures originate: within or outside of Flanders?' and 'Where in the chain do the greatest environmental pressures originate?’. It was found, for example, that roughly 70 % of the greenhouse gases linked to food consumed by Flemish households are emitted outside of Flanders, that one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions due to heating are released in the production chain of electricity and gas used, and that the Flemish greenhouse gas emissions linked to exported products are almost 30 % less than the greenhouse gas emissions included in the rucksack of the imported products that are consumed in Flanders. Such analyses reveal the 'hotspots' in the various production and consumption chains and can therefore be used as policy guidance.

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