Extent of Applicability

When such indicators can be assembled on a time series basis, mathematical functions can be fitted to the data and used to compute other parameters useful for policy analysis. Decoupling indicators can also be formulated at the product or enterprise level, as is being attempted at present by the Global Reporting Initiative.

Decoupling indicators are intended primarily to track, for a single country, temporal changes in the relationship between environmental pressures and economic driving forces. When decoupling indicators are used to compare environmental performance between countries, the national circumstances of each country must also be taken into account. These include factors such as country size, population density, natural resource endowments, energy profile, changes in economic structure, and stage of economic development. Moreover, the initial level of an environmental pressure and the choice of time period considered can affect the interpretation of the results because countries proceed according to different timetables.

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