Title of statistical activity: Material flow accounts

Code of statistical activity: 10601

  1. Contact
  2. Metadata update
  3. Statistical presentation
  4. Unit of measure
  5. Reference period
  6. Institutional mandate
  7. Confidentiality
  8. Release policy
  9. Frequency of dissemination
  10. Accessibility and clarity
  11. Quality management
  12. Relevance
  13. Accuracy and reliability
  14. Timeliness and punctuality
  15. Coherence and comparability
  16. Cost and burden
  17. Data revision
  18. Statistical processing

1. Contact Individual or organisational contact points for the data or metadata, including information on how to reach the contact points.

1.1. Contact organisation The name of the organisation of the contact points for the data or metadata.

Statistics Estonia

1.2. Contact organisation unit An addressable subdivision of an organisation.

Economic and Environmental Statistics Department

1.3. Contact name The name of the contact points for the data or metadata.

Swen Peterson

1.4. Contact person function The area of technical responsibility of the contact, such as "methodology", "database management" or "dissemination".


1.5. Contact mail address The postal address of the contact points for the data or metadata.

51 Tatari Str, 10134 Tallinn, Estonia

1.6. Contact email address E-mail address of the contact points for the data or metadata.


1.7. Contact phone number The telephone number of the contact points for the data or metadata.

+372 625 9340

2. Metadata update The date on which the metadata element was inserted or modified in the database.

2.1. Metadata last certified Date of the latest certification provided by the domain manager to confirm that the metadata posted are still up-to-date, even if the content has not been amended.


2.2. Metadata last update Date of last update of the content of the metadata.


3. Statistical presentation

3.1. Data description Main characteristics of the data set described in an easily understandable manner, referring to the data and indicators disseminated.

Material balance sheets in physical units and material flow indicators derived from these

3.2. Classification system Arrangement or division of objects into groups based on characteristics which the objects have in common.

Economy-wide material flow accounts and derived indicators. – A methodological guide, Eurostat 2001

Economy-wide Material Flow Accounting – guide for beginners, co-ordinated by Helga Weisz and Willi Haas, Eurostat 2006

Economy Wide Material Flow Accounts: Compilation Guidelines for reporting to the 2009 Eurostat questionnaire, Eurostat 2009

Measuring material flows and resource productivity. Synthesis report, OECD 2007

Standard International Trade Classification (SITC Rev. 4)

3.3. Sector coverage Main economic or other sectors covered by the statistics.

All economic activities

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions Statistical characteristics of statistical observations.

Biomass – biomass from agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and other activities.

Biomass from agriculture – biomass from agriculture harvest, from agriculture by-products of harvest used as forage, fodder crops and from grazing of agricultural animals.

Dissipative losses of products – estimations of air emissions of particles due to abrasion of tyres and breaks and erosion of roads as well as leakages during transport and storage of fuels.

Dissipative use of products – materials dispersed into the environment as a result of product use.

Dissipative use on agricultural land – quantity of mineral fertilizers (N, K₂O ja P₂O₅), farmyard manure, sewage sludge, compost, pesticides expressed as total quantity of used formulations and seeds used by agricultural holdings.

Dissipative use on roads – estimated quantities of used de-icing substances (salt, sand and granite gravel) are included in this indicator.

Emissions and wastes – quantity of emitted air pollutants, quantity of pollutants in waste water discharged into natural water bodies and quantity of land filled wastes.

Emissions into air – CO₂, CH₄, N₂O, NOₓ, HFCs, PFCs, SFₓ, CO, non-methane volatile organic compounds, SO₂, NHₓ, heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants and particles.

Emissions into water – total quantity of pollutants released into natural water bodies with waste water.

Fossil fuels – oil shale and peat.

Material flow accounts (MFA) – consistent compilations of the overall material inputs into national economies, the changes of material stock within the economic system and the material outputs into economies of other countries or into the environment, in physical units.

Material input – all materials used in domestic economy: all domestic natural resources and imported materials.

Material output – all emissions, land filled wastes and also exported materials expressed as basic natural resources indicating their processing level.

Memorandum items for balancing – materials which are excluded from MFA (bulk water and air flows), but are essential for the mass balance.

Memorandum items for balancing input – quantity of oxygen used for combustion of fuels and respiration of humans and livestock.

Memorandum items for balancing output – water vapour from combustion and also CO₂ and water vapour from respiration of humans and livestock.

Non-metallic minerals – cement and ceramic clay, technological limestone and limestone for cement, lake lime, land for technology and ceramics, sapropel, construction gravel, construction sand, construction limestone and dolomite, used waste of excavation of mineral resources and used waste of rocks and soil.

Physical exports – all exported materials are recalculated for their basic natural resources indicating their processing level: raw material, semi-manufactured products and finished products.

Physical imports – all imported materials are recalculated for their basic natural resources indicating their processing level: raw material, semi-manufactured products and finished products.

Unused biomass from harvest – estimations of wood harvesting losses and discarded by-catch in fishery.

Unused domestic extraction – materials which are moved or extracted from the environment during economic activity, but which were not used in production or consumption process.

Unused extraction from mining and quarrying – quantity of land filled waste from excavation of mineral resources and quantity of land filled rocks and soil.

3.5. Statistical unit Entity for which information is sought and for which statistics are ultimately compiled.

Material flow

3.6. Statistical population The total membership or population or "universe" of a defined class of people, objects or events.

Not applicable


Not applicable

3.7. Reference area The country or geographic area to which the measured statistical phenomenon relates.

Estonia as a whole

3.8. Time coverage The length of time for which data are available.


3.9. Base period The period of time used as the base of an index number, or to which a constant series refers.

Not applicable

4. Unit of measure The unit in which the data values are measured.

Thousand tonnes

5. Reference period The period of time or point in time to which the measured observation is intended to refer.


6. Institutional mandate

6.1. Legal acts and other agreements Legal acts or other formal or informal agreements that assign responsibility as well as the authority to an agency for the collection, processing, and dissemination of statistics.


Regulation (EU) No 691/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2011 on European environmental economic accounts

Regulation (EU) No 538/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 691/2011 on European environmental economic accounts (Text with EEA relevance)


Not available


Not available

7. Confidentiality A property of data indicating the extent to which their unauthorised disclosure could be prejudicial or harmful to the interest of the source or other relevant parties.

7.1. Confidentiality - policy Legislative measures or other formal procedures which prevent unauthorised disclosure of data that identify a person or economic entity either directly or indirectly.

The dissemination of data collected for the purpose of producing official statistics is guided by the requirements provided for in § 32, § 34, § 35, § 38 of the Official Statistics Act.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment Rules applied for treating the data set to ensure statistical confidentiality and prevent unauthorised disclosure.

Not applicable

8. Release policy Rules for disseminating statistical data to interested parties.

8.1. Release calendar The schedule of statistical release dates.

Notifications about the dissemination of statistics are published in the release calendar, which is available on the website. Every year on 1 October, the release times of the statistical database, news releases, main indicators by IMF SDDS and publications for the following year are announced in the release calendar (in the case of publications – the release month).

8.2. Release calendar access Access to the release calendar information.


8.3. User access The policy for release of the data to users, the scope of dissemination (e.g. to the public, to selected users), how users are informed that the data are being released, and whether the policy determines the dissemination of statistical data to all users.

All users have been granted equal access to official statistics: dissemination dates of official statistics are announced in advance and no user category (incl. Eurostat, state authorities and mass media) is provided access to official statistics before other users. Official statistics are first published in the statistical database. If there is also a news release, it is published simultaneously with data in the statistical database. Official statistics are available on the website at 8:00 a.m. on the date announced in the release calendar.

9. Frequency of dissemination The time interval at which the statistics are disseminated over a given time period.


10. Accessibility and clarity

10.1. News release Regular or ad-hoc press releases linked to the data.

Not published

10.2. Publications Regular or ad-hoc publications in which the data are made available to the public.

Not published

10.3. Online database Information about on-line databases in which the disseminated data can be accessed.

Data are published under the subject area “Environment / Environmental Accounts” in the statistical database at http://pub.stat.ee.

10.4. Microdata access Information on whether micro-data are also disseminated.

Not applicable

10.5. Other References to the most important other data dissemination done.

Not used

10.6. Documentation on methodology Descriptive text and references to methodological documents available.

Economy Wide Material Flow Accounts: Compilation Guidelines for reporting to the 2009 Eurostat questionnaire, Eurostat (2009)


Measuring material flows and resource productivity. Synthesis report, OECD


10.7. Quality documentation Documentation on procedures applied for quality management and quality assessment.

The quality report will be prepared in 2019.

11. Quality management Systems and frameworks in place within an organisation to manage the quality of statistical products and processes.

11.1. Quality assurance All systematic activities implemented that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that the processes will fulfil the requirements for the statistical output.

To assure the quality of processes and products, Statistics Estonia applies the EFQM Excellence Model, the European Statistics Code of Practice and the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System (ESS QAF). Statistics Estonia is also guided by the requirements in § 7. “Principles and quality criteria of producing official statistics” of the Official Statistics Act.

11.2. Quality assessment Overall assessment of data quality, based on standard quality criteria.

Statistics Estonia performs all statistical activities according to an international model (Generic Statistical Business Process Model – GSBPM). According to the GSBPM, the final phase of statistical activities is overall evaluation using information gathered in each phase or sub-process; this information can take many forms, including feedback from users, process metadata, system metrics and suggestions from employees. This information is used to prepare the evaluation report which outlines all the quality problems related to the specific statistical activity and serves as input for improvement actions.

12. Relevance The degree to which statistical information meet current and potential needs of the users.

12.1. User needs Description of users and their respective needs with respect to the statistical data.

Ministry of the Environment

Ministry of the Interior

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI Tallinn)

Local government authorities

Users’ suggestions and information about taking these into account are available on the website of Statistics Estonia at https://www.stat.ee/statistikatood.

MFA resource productivity indicator allows the complex assessments of the implementation of resource-saving measures presented in competitiveness agenda “Estonia 2020”.

The collection of data every other year causes gaps in the statistical time series and decreases reliability of the analysis. A complete time series is necessary for the analysis of time series. Currently data exists for 2000–2011.

Material flow accounts allows the assessment of the economy’s dependence on the use of resources and, thus, flexibility and growth potential of the economy, partly also the needs for political choices directed towards reduction in resource use. In order to improve the adaptability of economy, it is more beneficial for the state to choose a development strategy, which reduces reliance on individual resource availability, price and imports.

12.2. User satisfaction Measures to determine user satisfaction.

Since 1996, Statistics Estonia has conducted reputation and user satisfaction surveys.

All results are available on the website at https://www.stat.ee/user-surveys.

12.3. Completeness The extent to which all statistics that are needed are available.

In compliance with the rules (regulations)

13. Accuracy and reliability Accuracy: closeness of computations or estimates to the exact or true values that the statistics were intended to measure.
Reliability: closeness of the initial estimated value to the subsequent estimated value.

13.1. Overall accuracy Assessment of accuracy, linked to a certain data set or domain, which is summarising the various components.

Data collection methods are provided the sufficient coverage and timeliness.

13.2. Sampling error That part of the difference between a population value and an estimate thereof, derived from a random sample, which is due to the fact that only a subset of the population is enumerated.

Not applicable

13.3. Non-sampling error Error in survey estimates which cannot be attributed to sampling fluctuations.

Not measured

14. Timeliness and punctuality

14.1. Timeliness Length of time between data availability and the event or phenomenon they describe.

The data are published 720 days after the end of the reference year (T + 720).

14.2. Punctuality Time lag between the actual delivery of the data and the target date when it should have been delivered.

Not applicable

15. Coherence and comparability

15.1. Comparability - geographical The extent to which statistics are comparable between geographical areas.

The use of an internationally harmonized methodology, based on the European Union Regulation on environmental economic accounts, allows for cross-country comparisons of published data.

15.2. Comparability - over time The extent to which statistics are comparable or reconcilable over time.

The data are comparable over time. The methodology and basic principles, definitions and classifications have remained the same over time.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain The extent to which statistics are reconcilable with those obtained through other data sources or statistical domains.

Material flow accounts is connected with the foreign trade, economy, energy, population, environment and agriculture statistics and air emissions accounts.

15.4. Coherence - internal The extent to which statistics are consistent within a given data set.

A clear statistical framework (data compilation guidelines) ensures the coherence of the outputs of the material flow accounts.

16. Cost and burden Cost associated with the collection and production of a statistical product and burden on respondents.

Cost of statistical activity 24.5 thousand euros (data for 2018)

17. Data revision Any change in a value of a statistic released to the public.

17.1. Data revision - policy Policy aimed at ensuring the transparency of disseminated data, whereby preliminary data are compiled that are later revised.

The data revision policy and notification of corrections are described in the dissemination policy of Statistics Estonia at https://www.stat.ee/dissemination-policy.

17.2. Data revision - practice Information on the data revision practice.

Not applicable

18. Statistical processing

18.1. Source data Characteristics and components of the raw statistical data used for compiling statistical aggregates.


Not used


Data on the extraction of mineral resources are received from the Estonian Land Board.

Data on the F-gases are received from the Estonian Environmental Research Centre.

Data on air emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, hunting, forestry, wastewater and waste handling are received from the Estonian Environment Agency.

Data on fishery are received from the Ministry of Rural Affairs.


Data from statistical activities 10401 “Waste management”, 20701 “Fish catch”, 21214 “Crop farming”, 22303 “Foreign trade”, 10104 “Environmental taxes accounts”, 10406 “Air emissions accounts”, 20206 “Energy consumption and production (annual)”, 21203 “Livestock farming and meat production”, 21207 “Economic accounts for agriculture”, 21213 “Supply balance sheets of agricultural products”, 21401 “National accounts (annual)”, 22026 “Transport infrastructure”, 30101 “Population” and 40202 “Tourism Survey” are used.

18.2. Frequency of data collection Frequency with which the source data are collected.


18.3. Data collection Systematic process of gathering data for official statistics.

Data from the Estonian Land Board, Estonian Environment Agency and the Estonian Environmental Research Centre are received by e-mail.

18.4. Data validation Process of monitoring the results of data compilation and ensuring the quality of statistical results.

Arithmetic and qualitative controls are used in the validation process, including comparison with other data. Before data dissemination, the internal coherence of the data is checked.

18.5. Data compilation Operations performed on data to derive new information according to a given set of rules.

The material flow accounts comprises two main elements: material balance sheets compiled in physical units and material flow indicators derived from these tables. On the input side of balance sheets are indicated the data of materials used in the domestic economy (all domestic natural resources and importe materials). The used materials are classified according to the basic material categories to biomass, mineral resources and fossil fuels. For comparability all imported materials are recalculated for their basic natural resources indicating their processing level. For example refrigerator made mostly of metals is accounted as finished product of mineral resources, as metallic minerals were extracted for its production.

All emissions and waste generated in the production and consumption process as well as exported materials by types of material and their processing level are accounted for on the output side of material balance sheets. The material balance sheets include lot of detailed information, but are difficult to interpret for the general public. Therefore, a number of material flow indicators are derived from the balance sheets, which are easily understandable and usable both in social decision-making and for journalists in informing the public. At the same time, the material flow indicators contain substantial information about special characteristic of domestic material use, its intensity and productivity and environmental risks connected to use of natural resources. Material flow indicators are usually classified as material input, consumption, resource productivity and intensity, material output and balance indicators.

18.6. Adjustment The set of procedures employed to modify statistical data to enable it to conform to national or international standards or to address data quality differences when compiling specific data sets.

Not applicable

19. Comments Supplementary descriptive text which can be attached to data or metadata.

Not available