Advance the production of ecosystem service accounts in the European Union

We are proud to announce that Eurostat, a Directorate-General of the European Commission, has selected the VITO led consortium to provide support on Ecosystem Accounting – INCA 2021-2023, to advance the implementation of ecosystem accounts in the European Union (EU) in a well-coordinated and methodologically robust way.

The European Green Deal emphasized the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 identified natural capital accounting as one of the tools that needs to be developed to integrate biodiversity considerations into public and business decision making.

The objective of this contract is to assist the European Commission (Eurostat) in concrete tasks in the field of ecosystem accounting, building on the results of the Knowledge Innovation Project on an Integrated System of Natural Capital (KIP-INCA), ecosystem accounting work undertaken in Member States, the outcomes of the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) Experimental Ecosystem Accounting (EEA) revision process and other relevant developments. The kick-off took place on 22nd February 2021 and organized in four tasks:

  • Methodological support to Eurostat and Member States;
  • Tools (GIS, IT) and procedures to build ecosystem accounts in Member States and at EU level;
  • Workflows and tools for the validation of ecosystem services accounts;
  • Other support to Eurostat on ecosystem accounting, i.e. explore use in EU SDG monitoring



Figure: Scheme of framework of ecosystem service accounts in KIP INCA (Vallecillo et al. 2018)


The project will explore the feasibility of a tiered approach to produce ecosystem accounts at national scale as well as EU wall-2-wall scale. The developed tools will be aligned with the outcomes of the SEEA Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA) and the procedures will be advanced to enable a regular production at multiple tiers. The European continental ecosystem service experimental accounts from KIP-INCA will be extended for the reference year 2018 and one more reference year thereafter:

  • Crop production
  • Wood production
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Crop pollination
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Water purification
  • Flood regulation
  • Soil retention
  • Species maintenance


The project is funded by the European Commission and awarded by Eurostat (2020.0318) to the consortium, led by VITO (Belgium) together with Ecounting (The Netherlands), EFTEC (United Kingdom) and IDEEA Group (Australia).