Resource Productivity

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UNIDO's 'Green Growth' report:

"From around 2007 onwards, several “green” initiatives have been introduced as a response to the global economic and financial crisis. “Green Economy”, “Green Growth”, and “Green Industry” are the most prominent of these new development concepts, which aim at improving human wellbeing and social equity and at increasing resource productivity to ensure more sustainable patterns of growth and industrial development. The world and its population is not just about its economies, it is an intricate web of communities, citizens, families and far more. The human dimension needs to have equal standing with the economic and environmental pillars of the green discourse. We need effective and new strategies and policies – a change in paradigm, which at its core, focuses on switching from efforts to increase labour productivity to substantially improve resource productivity.

Labour productivity has increased twentyfold in the last 200 years. Today, with ever increasing unemployment rates mirroring this fact, labour is far from being in short supply. On the contrary, natural resource scarcity is putting our societies at risk and the environmental effects of global resource use, such as climate change, desertification, or food shortages are threatening the security of mankind as well as undermining the stability of the world’s economic and security systems. As a consequence, it is paramount that increased resource productivity becomes the central driver of technological progress in the future, with incentives for those who are more productive with scarce resources. This will stimulate our economies in many ways, e.g. in terms of higher economic multiplier effects as well as with the creation of (mostly local) green jobs. “Green Growth” must be understood as a goal for national, regional and global policies. This goes beyond sheer technical progress and involves structural change and transition towards less capital and resource intensive activities, especially in the early industrialized and therefore highly resource consuming parts of the world. It will involve business as well as household engagement and requires new forms of public-private interaction. If growth is to be understood as a means to enhance human wellbeing, it should not only be environmentally sustainable but also socially and economically viable. Guided by enabling policies and a strong ethical framework, such a development can help to ensure that everyone on the planet has enough to eat, work and live in decent conditions, is embedded in social networks and enjoys a good quality of education, health and community networks.


Rigorous targets are not only needed to measure progress on improving resource efficiency, but also to reflect the overarching capacity of sustainable supply within the world’s biocapacity. There have been suggestions of several quantitative indicators to monitor the economic, environmental and social development in Europe and other world regions towards the attainment of these three key targets." (