SKEP ERA-NET Project Profile
Workpackage 5: Plan and develop collaborative work areas
Development of a methodology for the assessment of global environmental impacts
of traded goods and services (EIPOT)
The SKEP ERA-NET (Scientific Knowledge for Environmental Protection) is a partnership of
17 government ministries and agencies, from 13 European countries, responsible for funding
environmental research. The SKEP network aims to facilitate the improvement of science
into policy processes and to support evidence-led modern regulation.
Issues related to environmental consequences of intensifying international trade have gained
significant importance in European Union (EU) policies in the past few years. The
importance of international trade for the assessment of environmental performance is
emphasised, for example, in the revised EU Sustainable Development Strategy1 and in the
upcoming EU Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production2.
Products are now produced in one part of the world, taken into another country and then
redistributed to their final country of consumption. In order to promote and understand
sustainable consumption and production, there is a need to capture the whole life costs of
products and services (in terms of emissions, water use, material flows, etc) in order to be
able to fully quantify the environmental impacts of consumption. However, there is an
absence of an accepted EU-approach towards assessing the trans-national impacts of
European consumption. Many existing methodologies such as life-cycle assessments
(LCAs), resource flows and material flows rely on average data and do not easily allow for
local impacts of production and consumption, or infrastructure associated with production,
use and disposal. This is especially important when assessing products and services whose
production-consumption chain spans across several national boundaries.
The SKEP network wishes to develop a suitable methodology to assess such trans-national
environmental impacts. By reviewing the past and current accounting studies, the EIPOT
project (environmental impacts of trade) will aim to bring together existing knowledge and
ongoing research to identify, specify and develop a suitable integrated approach, which can
be applied by SKEP member states and third countries.
The main objective of this project is to develop and specify an environmental accounting
methodology which allows SKEP member states to quantify and assess the trans-national
environmental impacts of traded goods and services.
More specifically, this project aims to:
Review and comparatively evaluate a large number of existing environmental
accounting techniques that allow to illustrate trans-national impacts of traded goods
Identify the most suitable methodology and develop it further into an accounting
approach, which can be applied by all SKEP member states,
SKEP ERA-NET Project Profile
Specify the (theoretical) framework and define criteria for environmental accounting
methodologies to be suitable for the assessment of environmental impacts of
imported and exported goods and services,
Identify data requirements and suggest possible date sources for the improved
Elaborate the roles of different regulatory authorities in providing required data and
advise on the practical implementation of the methodology.
The project aims to provide a comprehensive comparative assessment and evaluation of
different methods and tools which are currently applied to assess the environmental
implications of international trade.
The project will identify and specify an accounting approach which is suited to the specific
requirements of the SKEP member states. During the course of the project, the specific
policy issues of SKEP member states relating to environmental pressures from traded
products will be identified and the development of a suitable model will take these
requirements into account from the beginning.
A project steering group has been established to provide guidance and support including
members of the SKEP Call Steering Committee and relevant policy/technical experts.
Project inception meeting: April 08
Interim report: Aug 08
Interim workshop: Sept 08
Draft final report: Feb 08
Final report: Mar 09
Final workshop (project end): March/April 09
For further information on SKEP: http://www.skep-era.net
Further information regarding the EIPOT project can be obtained on www.eipot.eu and from
the following contacts:
Environment Agency Research Co-ordinator
Naomi Savory (Science Project Manager) Dr Thomas Wiedmann
RM B535 Research Associate
Environmental Science Department Stockholm Environment
Lancaster University Institute
LA1 4YQ Grimston House
e-mail: email@example.com University of York
YO10 5DD, UK