How to benchmark indicators

When dealing with indicators and their analysis, we suggest that you compare them to reference values to benchmark the indicators. We provide some benchmark values and interpretation help for a handful of indicators. You can use those to compare your values to the EU-27 values or your own country, if those values exist nationally.

Source, page 7

It only takes a few indicators (DE, IMP, EXP, DPO) to calculate many others: DMI, TMI, TMR, DMC, TMC, NAS, PTB, DPO, TDO, TMO; Eurostat Material Flow Accounts

Circular material use rate (CMU)

What it is and how it can be calculated: see this background information source

Unit of measurement: % (percentage)

Reference value: 12.4% for EU-28 in 2019

Interpretation help: The higher the rate, the better. “A higher CMU rate value means that more secondary materials substitute for primary raw materials thus reducing the environmental impacts of extracting primary material.” (source)

For an easy to understand example of text and graphical representation of how the CMU could be explained, see how it is done by Eurostat

The percentage for EU-27, EU-28 and various countries and years, can be found in the Circular material use rate [env_ac_cur] dataset, while below an excerpt for the CityLoops cities’ countries is provided (with Norway missing).

The CMU is further split up by material type, the four big material categories, see Circular material use rate by material type [env_ac_curm] dataset and screenshot below. The data is not available per country, but only for EU-27 and EU-28 and 2004-2019.

Domestic material consumption (DMC)

What is it: See Eurostat Glossary

Unit of measurement: tonnes

Reference value: 13.4 tonnes per capita for EU-28 in 2019

Interpretation help: “Generally a decrease in the indicator value is beneficial to the environment and to the Green Economy.” source >> interpretation aid → see more at the stated source for potential misinterpretation.

If you want to compare your value to the reference value, you need to divide the calculated DMC by the population of your city for that year to get to tonnes per capita.


  • Date: 1990-2020
  • Scale: Country
  • Materials: similar to NACE level 2-3
  • Unit: thousand tonnes, tonnes per capita, index

“The total DMC of the EU economy is estimated at 14 tonnes per capita in 2019.”

Other indicators
  • EU self-sufficiency for raw materials (cei_pc010), dataset
    • “The values of Self-sufficiency indicator could range from 0 to 100%, in the same interval as import reliance, since any value outside this range can’t be interpreted (there is no meaning of a negative self-sufficiency, neither to be more than 100% self-sufficient in a specific material). The indicator provides insights in the differences between materials: for certain raw materials the EU is more self-sufficient than for others. The data source allows for a disaggregation per material. Due to increasing demand for certain materials (such as silicon, copper, tellurium and indium), even if 100% were recycled, the EU would still not be self-sufficient. The indicator should be considered in a broader context considering potential disruption of supply in the context of economically sensitive key areas. Self-sufficiency for raw materials, in combination with an analysis of the source countries for these materials, can help assessing supply risks for these materials.”
  • Recycling of biowaste, (cei_wm030), dataset
  • Contribution of recycled materials to raw materials demand - end-of-life recycling input rates (EOL-RIR) (cei_srm010), dataset
    • One year
    • All of EU
  • In the UCA method document, only 18 indicators are listed, however the UCA deals with 21 in total. The three additional ones are as follows: