Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications

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Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications

Authors: Paul Ekins and Nick Hughes

Publication date: 2016


This is a report about prospects for resource efficiency. It considers how resource efficiency can contribute to economic growth and development, at the same time as reducing the world’s use of materials, energy, biomass and water, and the resulting environmental impacts. 2015 was a landmark year, due to the establishment of two historic global agreements which confirm the international community’s shared commitment to achieving equitable and sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is now the most complete expression of the positive aspirations of human societies worldwide through to 2030.

Further, the agreement in Paris at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) saw 195 countries pledging to keep global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Both the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement are highly significant in that they commit industrialized and emerging economies and other developing countries to join forces to eradicate poverty, and protect Earth’s resources and ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations. Resources include renewable and non-renewable energy, materials, water, air, biomass and land, are fundamental to human well-being.