DYNAMIX defines resource efficiency as creating more socio-economic value with an equal level of resource input or an equal level of environmental impact, thus resulting in an increase in resource productivity. Resource efficiency increases can occur at all stages of a good’s life cycle (extraction, production, distribution, consumption or disposal) and it can be measured on different scales, e.g. for one product group, economic sector, consumption field, or for the economy as a whole. In our understanding, resource efficiency can also increase when needs are fulfilled with different products or services or when the paradigm of what fulfils a need shifts. Thus, increases in resource efficiency can be achieved by:
- Using fewer resources to fulfil the same needs
- Increasing the (socio-economic) value and benefits from the use of (the same amount of) resources
- Reducing the environmental impacts and damage associated with the use of resources
We explicitly do not use the term resource efficiency in the way the term efficiency is used in economics where Pareto-efficient outcomes require that the distribution of goods and services is optimal, building on assumptions about consumers’ preferences.