About our methodology

We strive to provide accurate measurement of the circular economy and contextualise it by giving holistic overviews of the material flows of the economic systems we analyse. This is most prominently expressed in the Global Circularity Metric and the mapping of global material flows in the Sankey diagrams featuring at the core of each Circularity Gap Report.

and Mapping Circularity

The key to the methodologies underpinning both the circularity indicator and the material flow mapping is the quality of the data that is sourced to calculate the gap metric as well as the databases on material flow volumes. Therefore, we make it a priority to choose datasets that are curated by internationally renowned institutions and triangulate aggregated material volumes with other established sources and feedback from our scientific committee.

Measuring Circularity - Technical Methodology Document (January 2023) - PDF

Scientific committee

Circle Economy makes sure to develop its methodologies, datasets and the narratives extracted from the analyses in close collaboration with a group of knowledge partners from academia and research institutes that form the scientific committee.

Participating organisations are consulted on a regular basis through multiple channels and include the World Resources Institute (WRI), The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), The International Resource Panel (IRP), Institute of Environmental Sciences at the University of Leiden (CML), Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL), The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS).


Find answers to key questions about why material tracking matters, how circularity is measured, and its connection to environmental sustainability.
Why is it important to track how materials are extracted, used and managed at end-of-life?
How do we track material flows in an economy?
What does it mean to take  a ‘consumption-based’ perspective?
How is the Circularity Metric calculated?
What data is used to calculate the Circularity Metric?
Do materials recycled abroad ‘count’ towards the Circularity Metric?
Why doesn’t the Circularity Metric include ecologically cycled biomass? 
Is 100% circularity possible?
How does the Circularity Metric differ from Eurostat’s Circularity Material Use Rate (CMUR)?
How do the results of the analysis link to national emission reduction targets?