How EM-PLUS works

As experts in sustainability economics, we will support your decision-making in the sustainability issues. We will provide you evidence-based recommendations so that you can gain better insights in policy implications and make better decisions. Our system of models, EM-PLUS, is the basis of our work. The tools of EM-PLUS enable us to explore, analyze and interpret a wide range of topics and scenarios. Alongside the existing tools, we have the capability to design and implement bespoke solutions that meet client needs, including developing small econometric models and user-friendly Excel spreadsheet tools.

What is EM-PLUS?

EM-PLUS is a modelling platform that houses various impact assessment tools that can work together or stand-alone. EM-PLUS stands for Environmental Modelling Platform for sUStainability. Various tools exist in the EM-PLUS platform, ranging from global impact assessment tools to agent-based models at the household level. Some tools focus on energy and climate while others focus on transport or agriculture.

EM-PLUS is an open collaborative modelling platform, meaning that it can also include modules developed by research partners in collaborative projects. For instance the energy module has been developed by the Basque Centre for Climate Change and the behavioral module by the University of Twente; both developed and/or applied in the FP7 project called COMPLEX.

What is EXIOMOD?

The core of the EM-PLUS platform is the socio-economic impact assessment tool called EXIOMOD 2.0. The unique feature of EXIOMOD is its modular setup and complete flexibility. EXIOMOD uses this new flexible and modular approach because there is a need for more transparent and simple modelling tools, as such models can be criticized for their excessive complexity. The level of complexity in EXIOMOD can now be easily customized for the research question at hand. As a result we can ensure transparent and robust modelling with EXIOMOD.

EXIOMOD is able to capture the interaction between economy, society and environment. It is a global multi-sector and multi-country model which can provide the scenario analysis regarding key economic variables (such as GDP, value-added, investment, employment and taxes) as well as detailed environmental indicators. EXIOMOD is calibrated on the 2011 EXIOBASE database (www.exiobase.eu).

Read more about EXIOMOD and its applications here.

Our modelling philosophy

The trend towards models that can answer all questions has led to larger models with larger databases. As the number of links and parameters in a model increases, its performance, in terms of transparency and robustness, decreases. The problem of transparency and robustness of the impact assessment models based on the Input-Output databases is now being recognized both by policy makers and scientific community. Both call for more transparent and less complex models.


We have developed EXIOMOD 2.0 with the main goal of developing a flexible and transparent impact assessment tool that is accessible by different modellers at the same time. By having various modellers working on the same model, all our work is double-checked resulting in a higher quality. The level of complexity can be easily adjusted in EXIOMOD. Modelling results resulting from different functional forms can be easily compared side-by-side. All of this leads to improved transparency, robustness and reliability.