About this report

Methodology

Economic indicators
Unless specified otherwise, the economic activities of the chemicals, plastics and life sciences sector fall under the following numerical codes used by the European Union for classifying economic activities:

  • NACE 20: manufacture of chemicals and chemical products;
  • NACE 21: manufacture of basic pharmaceuticals products and pharmaceutical preparations;
  • NACE 22: manufacture of rubber and plastic products.


Statistics on foreign trade

The products of the chemicals, plastics and life sciences sector fall under the following sections of the Combined Nomenclature, a classification used by the World Customs Organization (WCO):

  • section VI: products from the chemical and related industries;
  • section VII: plastic, rubber and their derivatives.


Environmental indicators

This report uses data from the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR; 2007-2011) as well as official federal or regional sources.

The E-PRTR replaced the European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER), which was used to gather data from 2001 to 2004. The number of companies, pollutants and reporting thresholds may differ, so the old and new data must be interpreted with due caution.


Production index
In the environmental graphs the sustainability report uses the production index, calculated and published by the Belgian economic authorities, to demonstrate the decoupling of production and consumption or emissions.

The production index represents the industrial level of production of the sector and its evolution in time[1]. The data are based on PRODCOM surveys on the production of manufactured goods. Production outputs are converted into a monetary value considering the different unit measures. Given that the monthly data on value added necessary for the collection of this index are often difficult to collect, proxy values for the calculation of the production index are used in practice. Furthermore, the industrial production index is deflated by the industrial production price index in order to make the variations in the industrial production index reflect only volume variations and not price variations.

In 2015, the Belgian economic authorities (Statistics Belgium) adjusted the base year for this index for the period 2000-2010 and refined the methodology used to produce it. This switch to a 2010 base year alters the relative share of the various economic activities based on their respective added value. The share of life sciences thus rose significantly in the sector’s production index between 2000 and 2010.

[1] Months aggregated into years and currently compared to 2010, reference year

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