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Resource Efficiency

European firms could make significant gains from embracing resource efficiency measures


The European Commission has released a new report as part of its on-going analysis of the opportunities to be gained from implementing more resource efficiency measures. ‘The opportunities to business of improving resource efficiency’ assesses the economic and environmental opportunities available to European businesses and focuses on three example sectors – food and drink, fabricated metal products, and hospitality and food services. It is based on industry data, case studies and a literature review. Read more…

The report focuses on the economic and environmental advantages of resource efficiency measures, such as cutting waste, reducing water consumption and decreasing dependence on other raw materials. It highlights a range of techniques that can be used to realise these advantages including ecodesign, waste prevention and re-use, and the main drivers for taking up these measures (increased price of raw materials, the development of supply-side partnerships and the potential for bottom-line cost savings). However, the barriers preventing uptake by businesses are also considered – lack of access to funding, distorted market demand, a lack of knowledge of capability and the initial investments required.

The research suggests that the net benefit for business from increase resource efficient business practices will could from €245 billion to €604 billion. In particular, it is estimated that realising all opportunities could raise turnover of all three example sectors by between 10% and 17%. However, businesses also need to consider carefully the varying payback periods and potential financial gains associated with the measures, many of which have immediate paybacks, but others require substantial investment. The economic benefits to business of becoming more resource efficient is the key them of the report, but the associated environmental benefits are also identified (for example, a potential 2% to 4% decrease in total annual greenhouse gas emissions in Europe.

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The opportunities to business of improving resource efficiency

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