The underlying reasons for resource (in)efficiencies

Citation: Tan, A. R., Dekhtyar, P., Sarteel, M., Kong, M. A., Faninger, T., Lockwood, S., Mudgal, S., Hirschnitz-Garbers, M., Gradmann, A., Srebotnjak, T., Palm, D., Adolfsson, I., Fråne, A., Dahlgren, L., Ljungkvist, H., Salmons, R. (2013): The underlying reasons for resource (in)efficiencies? - Deliverable D.2.2., Paris: BIO Intelligence Service.

Which resources do we use most inefficiently and why? What is driving our inefficient resource use and how much room for improvement is there? Answers to these questions can be found in the latest DYNAMIX report entitled "The underlying reasons for resource (in)efficiencies".

The goal of this work package was to identify and assess some of the key drivers of inefficient resource use in the EU. The study examined a broad range of individual resources (e.g. materials, land, water, energy, and ecosystems), analysing their macro-economic flows and assessing inefficiencies in their use throughout their life cycles. The study also took a closer look at production and consumption in three key sectors: food, buildings and transport.
In each sector, key inefficiencies (areas which require substantial resource use, but also have tangible potential for efficiency gains) were identified and their causes were mapped. Six broad categories of factors that directly or indirectly influence the efficiency of resource use were identified: behavioural and informational, institutional and organisational, policy and regulatory, economic and demographic, technological and infrastructural, and bio-physical.

A complex network of interlinked drivers was found to underlie the key inefficiencies identified. Overall, changing production and consumption patterns, which in turn are largely affected by population growth and rising income levels, were found to be at the root of many inefficient resource uses, though other surrounding factors also have a strong influence on these patterns.

The work package team identified and mapped the key drivers according to their potential for improving resource efficiency, as well as the feasibility of influencing them via policy. The findings from this work package provide a thorough understanding of the drivers and causes of inefficient resource use and will be vital in the next steps of the DYNAMIX project when designing appropriate and effective policy mixes to achieve absolute decoupling.  

For more information, take a look at the final report and the executive, both available for download below!