Towards resource efficiency indices for business

Resource efficiency refers to the sustainable use of the Earth’s limited resources. It allows for the optimization of productivity and value while minimising input and wastage. As patterns of consumption change with global demographics and the understanding of the limitations of natural resources improves in tandem with the technologies available to increase efficiency, the topic is of growing interest to governments, businesses, policy-makers and civil society. At the international scale resource efficiency has been raised through Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Declaration via the policy mechanisms of the UN. Resource efficiency is a core theme addressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular Goal 8. Recognition of the critical nature of the topic is reflected at European level (e.g. Europe 2020 and the EU Flagship Initiative) and there are similar instruments and initiatives in place at national level, through which governments (e.g. the REFF Swiss Resource Efficiency Project) are developing incentives and strategies to allow for business and society to respond. A resource efficiency index for an industry sector will highlight resource efficiency or circularity in the industry and provide an incentive for others to adopt effective measures and instruments. The World Resources Forum (WRF) is well positioned to assess the state of the planet. Ranking businesses and countries 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 a resource efficiency index for businesses and countries. The results of the country and business indices will be presented each year during the World Resources Forum.