For this reason, knowing the definitions and measurement indices can be a great advantage: indicators and parameters are the perfect allies for quantifying the margin for improvement and successes regarding aspects that are sometimes difficult to measure.

The UNI 11821 Technical Specification entered into force in Italy on 30 November 2022 and describes a unique rating method for measuring the level of ‘circularity’ of a company, of any size. The reference standard is applicable both at a micro level (single organisation, including local authorities) and at a meso level (groups of organizations such as industrial districts or production chains). The macro level (region/country) is excluded from the scope of application although Appendix B indicates guidelines for measuring circularity also at this level.

The index can measure everything that is produced in companies, in all sectors and without exceptions. The data necessary to calculate the indicator must come from processes belonging to one or more value phases such as design, procurement, production, distribution and sale, use and consumption and end of life. The nature of the indicators can be quantitative, qualitative and semi-quantitative.

‘Circularity indicator’ means a measurement of the ‘level of circularity’ of a company. The ‘level of circularity’ (LoC) is the company positioning in relation to a rating system which, in the case of the Technical Specification in question, is built on the basis of the following dimensions of ‘sustainability’: materials, energy and water, waste and emissions, logistics, products and services, human resources, asset policy and sustainability. Each dimension underlies a set of indicators, satisfying which the company obtains a positioning or a level of circularity.

The standardization of a circularity index could allow recognition at a European level and, therefore, additional support in the energy transition path of companies. The steps taken at the legislative level by the European Council are an encouraging aspect, but having an analysis method available that allows precise data to be obtained would allow for a parallel between circularity and environmental product certification.

The issue of measuring the level of circularity also takes on significant importance in the calculation of impacts and in the adoption of mitigation, reduction and compensation measures in order to improve the company’s environmental performance. An accurate measurement of one’s circularity also constitutes a marketing and attractiveness opportunity for investors and partners.

How many ways are there to measure circularity?

One of the most common elements among the various existing methods is the preparation of an input – output balance following a “Life Cycle Based” approach. In general, as indicated by the Ministry of Economic Development in the framework and strategic positioning document “Towards a Circular Economy model for Italy”, the approach in defining a budget can be gradual both in considering the types of resources to be inventory (material, energy), both for the degree of in-depth analysis (e.g. in the involvement or otherwise of suppliers or other subjects in the supply chain).

Interzero has the experience to conduct corporate circularity measurement activities. The company will receive an analytical document leading to the evaluation of the Circularity Indicator and a certificate relating to the Circularity Indicator. Interzero guarantees a reliable service: the Circularity Indicator calculated follows current legislation (the Technical Specification UNI 11821) and is therefore certifiable. In addition, Interzero also offers support for the certification of the Circularity Indicator, always guaranteeing maximum competence and transparency. Interzero’s environmental consultants make their expertise available in the field of analysis of product life cycles and in the reuse of materials that have reached the end of their life to guarantee each company a safe and effective environmental transition in full compliance with regulations.