When local, provincial and national authorities can measure the actual impact of their efforts to promote the circular economy, it will aid them in improving their policies. Measuring the results and communicating them clearly is an essential part of generating public support. That is why RIVM is working to develop methods for measuring the circular economy.

In this context, we combine our expertise in the fields of safety, health and sustainability. As a result, we are not only able to measure intended effects, but also to identify any unintended effects.
RIVM is part of a consortium measuring progress on the transition towards the circular economy. We are developing indicators to measure the transition in various sectors: construction, plastics, manufacturing, biomass, food, and consumer goods. We specifically focus on the activities and targets in the transition agendas and the circular economy implementation programme that the national government is operating in conjunction with its partners in society. The first report will be released by the consortium in 2020.


RIVM works with partners to develop methods for assessing sustainability. Examples include Life Cycle Impact Assessment and Safe and Sustainable Loops. The Life Cycle Impact Assessment model is used worldwide to determine the emissions released and the resources consumed throughout the lifecycle of a product. The methods provided for Safe and Sustainable Loops are used by licensing authorities to determine the advantages and disadvantages of using waste materials as input resources in new products.

In addition to developing methods for measuring the circular economy, RIVM takes stock of existing methods that are available for use. We do so via two websites: sustainabilitymethod.com, which takes visitors through three steps to identify which method is most suitable for answering a sustainability question. And the website at metenvanduurzaamheid.nl, which provides an overview of the tools available to measure sustainability.

Embracing socially responsible procurement practices

Government authorities not only promote the circular economy by defining policy, but also by practising what they preach in their own procurement practices. By practising circular procurement, government bodies create opportunities for companies that prioritise sustainability, thus contributing to the climate goals and circular economy targets set by the Dutch Government. RIVM measures the effect of these sustainable procurement practices at the national level, and helps local authorities measure the impact of circular procurement.