Resource efficiency and secondary raw materials management as a contribution to climate change mitigation
Title: Resource efficiency and secondary raw materials management as a contribution to climate change mitigation
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC)
Overall term: 2014 to 2017
The Indian Government has committed itself to achieving a high economic growth rate of eight per cent every year over the next few years. At the same time, the Indian population is growing rapidly. The burgeoning middle classes are in particularly great need of infrastructure and their demand for consumer goods is increasing. These trends are placing heavy demands on the country's natural resources and causing a rise in greenhouse gas emissions. In order to drive economic growth and create jobs, India is increasingly turning to production industries such as car manufacturing and construction. The strong growth in these industries means that their demand for resources, especially metals and minerals, is particularly high.
Using secondary raw materials conserves resources and promotes recycling, thereby making a major contribution to climate change mitigation and environmental protection. There is far too little exploitation of the opportunities for reusing the secondary raw materials produced in India. This is primarily due to the fact that waste is still frequently undervalued as a resource and that collection, processing and recycling processes are inefficient. These processes usually take place in the informal sector and are fraught with great environmental and health risks. In order to counteract the drastic increase in resource demand, rising raw materials prices, growth in imports and land-use conflicts, the Indian Government is striving to step up its efforts to address the issues of resource efficiency and resource security. However, a coherent policy approach and funding programmes have yet to be offered.
The Indian Government has created general conditions and incentives in its environmental, climate, industrial and raw materials policies that increase the productivity of raw materials and significantly enhance the contribution made by secondary raw materials management to environmental protection and climate change mitigation.
Working together with German and local consultancy companies, GIZ advises political decision-makers at national, state and municipal level on the options for conserving resources and secondary raw materials. It assists them in creating appropriate conditions and incentives for the more efficient use of resources. GIZ involves the private sector in its advisory activities, as companies themselves produce the secondary raw materials that they can feed back into their own production process. As such, they play an important role in increasing the sustainable use of resources and secondary raw materials.
In order to comprehensively advise the Indian Government and the private sector, the project is working with its Indian and German partners to produce an inventory of the raw materials that are most important to India. An analysis is also being conducted of the impact that the inefficient use of resources and secondary raw materials is having on the environment, on business and on people's living conditions. The next step involves identifying potential action areas and activities, and implementing these activities, which include pilot projects designed to show selected companies how they can increase their raw materials productivity. The findings are being discussed with environmental experts, industry representatives, cities and waste management firms.
A resource panel is helping to promote dialogue on ways to improve raw materials productivity and secondary raw materials management. This gives representatives from the private sector, policy-making bodies and civil society an opportunity to participate in dialogue forums to discuss technical questions relating to the recycling and use of secondary raw materials, create suitable standards for using secondary raw materials and develop additional measures.
International cooperation with India has yielded the following results:
- Initial project meetings with Indian and German project parters and the Ministry of Environment have led to the development of a common understanding of raw materials productivity and secondary raw materials management. Preparatory measures have also been implemented and work packages agreed among the partners.
- Existing government programmes on the topic are being taken into consideration in order to highlight the project's contribution to resource conservation and climate change mitigation, and to place these issues on the political agenda in a wider context.
- Potential pilot initiatives have been identified in the construction and car manufacturing industries.
- Initial plans specifying the composition, purpose, topic-specific sub-groups/sectoral groups and legal underpinning of the resource panel have been drawn up in cooperation with the project partners.