How to measure a circular economy: a holistic method compiling


R. Reich, V. Vermeyen, L. Alaerts, K. Van Acker

To date, the methods of compiling policy monitors for the circular economy (CE) often focus on recycling heavily and neglect higher circular strategies and environmental and social impacts. With 17 stakeholders from different domains meeting in several workshops, we developed a holistic method to compile indicators for policymakers steering the CE transition. Our method derives from a societal needs perspective and describes the manufactured, social and natural capital via the established Driving forces-Pressures-States-Impacts-Responses (DPSIR) framework. We also provide a case study where the holistic method was applied in the CE monitor of Flanders (Belgium). As a result, our method and framework can be a guide for working groups setting up a CE policy monitor. Applying the method ensures including, besides material flow, also environmental and social indicators in the monitor. The method can be used on different policymaker levels, highlights valuable indicators, and provides direct feedback on enacted policies.

CE Center co-authors:


Promoter CE Center


Manager/Researcher CE Center


(*Former) Researcher Circular Economy Policy Research Centre