Promising policy areas for fostering decoupling - 2nd Newsletter on DYNAMIX research findings

Dear Reader,

The DYNAMIX project aims at identifying and assessing promising policy mixes in support of absolute decoupling of resource use and environmental impacts from EU economic growth. Recent project findings obtained since the 1st DYNAMIX newsletter include 1) a comparative analysis of real world policy case studies for absolute decoupling and 2) a policy brief highlighting conditions for successful resource efficiency policy.

Furthermore, the presentations held during the 3rd DYNAMIX Policy Platform are now available for download - the platform report will follow soon!

Resource policy is being developed further on the European level (e.g. the Manifesto and policy recommendations from the European Resource Efficiency Platform and the upcoming Communication on a Circular Economy) and on the national level in various Member States. We hope to contribute to ambitious resource policy and to foster ongoing discussions and developments towards greater resource efficiency and absolute decoupling.

We hope that this newsletter will encourage you to follow-up on our project and exchange with our researchers - we are looking very much forward to that!

With kind regards,

the DYNAMIX team

In this newsletter

  1. Real world policy mixes: Comparative analysis - Report published
  2. Policy brief published
  3. 3rd DYNAMIX Policy Platform, 4 May 2014 in Brussels
  4. News on progress in resource efficiency

1. Real world policy mixes: Comparative analysis - Report published

This report compares 15 case studies of past and existing policy mixes in different sectors and assessed how effective they have been in spurring decoupling of resource use from economic growth. Key results are: Relative decoupling is being achieved in Europe, though at different rates across countries and resource issues. Examples include fossil fuels use in Sweden and Denmark; local municipal waste in Slovakia; and land take in England and Germany. Evidence of absolute decoupling is less frequent and related to specific resources and countries. Examples include Denmark’s fertiliser use, the UK’s use of aggregates, Ireland’s plastic bag use and Japan’s ‘sound material cycle society’. In Iceland, absolute decoupling within resource limits has been achieved for some fish species.

Download the full report here.

2. Policy brief published

A very short brief based on 2 new pieces of research, analysing cases of resource efficiency policy to guide future policy design. It highlights 5 types and 5 drivers of resource inefficiency, and finds that the drivers are rarely linear. Successful resource efficiency policies appear to be those which: intelligently define the boundaries of the system they seek to change (like the sector or a specified traded resource), meet the challenge of 'lock-in' to current activities, and use evidence-based targets to deliver predictability.

Download the policy brief here.

3. 3rd DYNAMIX Policy Platform, 6 May 2014 in Brussels

The 3d DYNAMIX Policy Platform entitled “Policy design and assessment: Three policy mixes for resource efficiency and decoupling” took place on 6 May 2014 in Brussels. It focused on presenting and discussing policy mixes for resource efficiency and decoupling as well as on how to assess them. Mixing keynote presentations and interactive formats, the 3rd Policy Platform brought together various stakeholder groups to exchange information, discuss policy design options, and reflect on opportunities to move forward in resource efficiency in Europe. In total, 45 experts from 14 European countries attended the event, incl. policy-makers, researchers, business and NGO representatives as well as representatives of environmental protection agencies, statistical offices and international organizations. Please click here to find the presentations. A report will follow soon.

4. News on progress in resource efficiency

Based on information gathered on the Online Resource Efficiency Platform, the following issues are examples for progress in resource efficiency:

1. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment started a program that will develop a methodology for assessing product durability. The common approach will be tested on two pilot studies focusing on refrigerators, freezers and ovens as product groups. The project will also include a cost-benefit analysis of the development of more durable products and a stakeholder workshop. Ultimately the project aims at incorporating product durability into future product policy. Please click here for more information.

2. Responding to the European Union´s (EU) aspirational goals for 2020 regarding waste treatment the EU´s plastics industry has voluntarily committed to eliminate landfilling by 2020, and promote recycling and energy recovery when recycling is not possible. Please click here for more information.

3. The Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme was launched as the first action under the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP). The programme is a global initiative to assist governments redirect public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits. Please click here for more information.

4. A report by the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) reveals that the amount of used packaging sent for final disposal is declining as recovery rates, and particularly recycling rates, continue to increase. The report “Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011” suggests that packaging production and packaging waste disposal have been decoupled from economic growth. Please click here for more information.

5. The European Environmental Agency (EEA) starts a new five-year work programme and establishes a new set of environmental policy priorities. The programme will begin with a resource-use theme in 2014 focusing on using resources more efficiently, such as improving recycling rates and waste treatment. Click here for more information.

6. A Eurobarometer survey carried out by the European Commission revealed that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are becoming more resource efficient. The survey “SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets” found that over 90% of SMEs are taking steps towards resource efficiency, with 67% practicing waste minimization, 67% saving energy, 59% saving materials and More than half are recycling and re-using materials and water. Please click here for more information.