Development of a Resource Efficiency Index of Nations – Illustrative calculations

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Development of a Resource Efficiency Index of Nations – Illustrative calculations

Authors: Lauran van Oers, Arnold Tukker (Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, Netherlands)

Publication date: 2016


Resource efficiency refers to the sustainable use of the Earth’s limited resources. It allows for the optimization of productivity and value while minimizing input and wastage. Ranking countries and businesses in this regard will induce stakeholders to take action in order to increase natural resources efficiency, productivity or sufficiency. In view of this, the WRF wishes to develop resource efficiency indices for countries and businesses. The objectives of the foreseen indices are: 1) The indices will become a thermometer of the state of the planet, raise awareness about the need for taking action and inspire people in order to increase natural resource efficiency, productivity or sufficiency. 2) The indices highlight the most natural resource efficient, productive or sufficient businesses and countries as well as the ones that are doing the most and provide an incentive for others to adopt effective measures and instruments. 3) The indices need to be easily understood and communicated, to be credible and to be innovative.

The WRF secretariat asked the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University, the Netherlands, to carry out a small pilot project that should result in a discussion paper (and if possible some quantitative examples) of how such an integrated indicator could be formulated. The document was delivered in mid-2015 and presented during conferences of the International Society of Industrial Ecology in July 2015 in Surrey, and the World Resources Forum in October 2015 in Davos. The pilot project also resulted in some illustrative calculations of resource indices. This document presents the results.