Catalysing multi-stakeholder collaboration for the sustainable management of natural resources.

The sustainable management of natural resources is intrinsically dependent upon the collaborative engagement of multiple societal stakeholders. Businesses, policy-makers, scientists, civil society organisations and individuals all have a role to play and a responsibility to act towards sustainable progress.

Through our conferences and projects, we aim at initiating an open dialogue and igniting action for taking concrete steps towards system-wide transformative change in the way we manage natural resources along their whole life-cycle.

Our Vision


A world where the global use of natural resources is conducive to human progress and wellbeing for all, within planetary boundaries and supportive towards the health of ecological ecosystems.

Our Mission


Our mission is to foster multi-stakeholder, international collaboration able to improve knowledge, co-create solutions and build capacity for a fair and sustainable management and use of natural resources.
How we pursue our mission

Our Goals

Facilitate research and innovation
to find new solutions for the sustainable management and use of natural resources.
Build and mobilize networks
of change actors in an inclusive process that aims at bringing all voices to the table.
Increase capacity
in skills and innovation for resource use on the ground, especially in the Global South.
Provide policy advise
to support decision-makers with the tools necessary to build the framework and direction for change.
Co-create industry standards
for the design of sustainable products and processes.
Build awareness
about the environmental, economic, social, and geo-political implications of global resource use.
Methodological Pillars

Our Approach

Systems Thinking
The way natural resources are managed and used has inter-linked economic, social, environmental and geo-political causes and effects. Only by addressing all these dimensions systematically, we can unveil the core of pressing challenges and design solutions that are effective and sustainable. Thinking in systems also allows us to analyse the dynamics of natural resources systems, exploring how changes in one dimension cause effects on another.
Lifecycle Thinking
Environmental, social and economic impact happens at all stages of the life of natural resources, from the way they are extracted, to the way they are used in production processes and are recovered after the consumption stage. Life-cycle thinking provides us a methodology to systematically analyse how resources are used across extraction, production and consumption systems, and to look for opportunities to increase resource efficiency and value.
Value Chain Approach
In today's world, natural resources are at the core of complex global value chains, where production, distribution, consumption and recovery activities often take place far away. Decisions at any stage inevitably have profound consequences for the entire chain's management of resources. By mapping and including all chain actors in our activities, we are able to discover levellers for change and increase the effectiveness of policy and practical interventions.
What drives our work

Our Values

visibility of decision-making processes, the clarity with which the reasoning behind decisions is communicated, and the ready availability of relevant information about governance and performance.

Building bridges since 2009

Our History in a nutshell

The World Resources Forum Association was established in 2019 as a spin-off from Empa, the world-leading Swiss-based materials research institute, which has been organising “R” series conferences on recycling and re-use of resources since 1995. R referred to reduce, reuse and recycle. In 2009, Empa together with the Factor 10 Institute decided to broaden the scope of the conferences to include the full life-cycle of products and services. And so the series of conferences became the World resources Forum, which has been attracting increasing numbers of high-level politicians, business leders, NGO’s and scientists from all over the World. Still today, WRFA holds strong collaboration ties with Empa on both conferences and technical and implementation projects in the Global South, a prominent example being the co-led, SECO-funded Sustainable Recycling Industries Initiative.

What resources do we focus on?



Mineral resources are non-renewable natural resources with distinctive chemical and physical properties, composition and atomic structure. Modern societies require huge quantities of mineral resources, which are used in a wide range of applications related to construction, manufacturing, mobility, agriculture and energy supply. As mineral resources are crucial for the large-scale deployment of low-carbon energy and mobility systems, such as in the case of wind and photovoltaic farms and electric cars, their demand will continue to grow in the coming decades. Examples of mineral resources include Lithium, Rare Earth Elements, Cobalt, Titanium and Magnesium.


Plastics are a wide range of polymer-based materials, which are mostly derived from petroleum and other fossil fuels. In addition to fossil fuels, also biomass can be used to produce bio-plastics, a small but slowly growing industry. Plastics are very versatile materials which are used in a wide range of sectors, including packaging, construction, automotive, and electrical and electronic industry. Pollution due to plastics is a global problem. Approximately 7 billion of the 9.2 tonnes of plastic produced from 1950-2017 became plastic waste, ending up in landfills or dumped. A portfolio of solutions is required to solve this problem, including a shift to a circular economy, materials innovation and efficient and safe recovery systems.