Initiative Resource Efficiency and Climate Action

Project description

Title: Initiative for Resource Efficiency and Climate Action
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2017 to 2024


Since the turn of the century, global consumption of resources has soared. According to the International Resource Panel (IRP), it will more than double between 2015 and 2050. This trend is accompanied by an increase in energy consumption, rising greenhouse gas emissions and harmful interventions in vital ecosystems. Emerging economies now account for an increasing share of resource consumption as a result both of rapid growth and of outsourcing of production facilities to those countries. Resource efficiency therefore represents economically attractive but so far underexploited potential for reducing greenhouse gases in emerging economies. Germany’s Resource Efficiency Program (ProgRess) made the country one of the first to define targets and approaches to protecting natural resources. Under the German Presidency of the G20 (the group of the 20 most important industrial and emerging economies), the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue was launched in 2017 to pursue such approaches at international level in partnership with emerging economies.


Public and private sector stakeholders in various emerging economies, and especially those from G20 member countries, are increasing resource efficiency and improving climate action.


In coordination with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the project promotes issues of resource efficiency and climate action in international dialogue and cooperation processes, especially the G20. Part of this involves sharing experience with and between emerging economies through a variety of networking and learning formats. Through information and training measures, experts and managers in Argentina, Indonesia and Mexico are learning how to exploit the potential offered by resource efficiency. These measures are contributing to raising awareness and building capacity among stakeholders.


  • High-level information and dialogue events on resource efficiency in Argentina, Indonesia and Mexico with players from the political, economic and research sectors, attended by more than 150 participants, have raised awareness and capacity to implement resource efficiency in the interests of climate change mitigation. The events received expert support from bodies including the German VDI Centre for Resource Efficiency (VDI ZRE), the International Resource Panel (IRP) and the German  Environment Agency (UBA).
  • In Argentina, dialogue events between private companies and the environment or economics ministries have boosted understanding of how policy measures can promote resource conservation and climate action. A self-assessment tool developed jointly with business associations enables companies to assess the impact of their measures.
  • In the Mexican state of Guanajuato, resource efficiency has been made a permanent part of public-sector programmes and strategies. The project has also set up regular dialogue between the environment and economics ministries and the private sector to promote resource efficiency in businesses.
  • In Indonesia, the Environment Ministry is pursuing the goal of making resource efficiency a more integral part of other policy areas and establishing dialogue on resource efficiency with the business sector. Background studies and workshops have led to recommendations for further measures, such as greater coordination between ministries and development of a series of dialogue events between businesses and policy-makers.
  • In Argentina, Indonesia and Mexico, the project has organised local resource efficiency trainer pools for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The project held a three-part online training course on resource efficiency for SMEs, with over 200 participants. This course can be accessed for self-study via the Green Industry Platform knowledge portal.
  • In Argentina, the project has devised a manual on resource efficiency for SMEs in close cooperation with a trade organisation and another in Mexico in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment. These have been made available to companies free of charge.
  • In Argentina, Indonesia and Mexico, the project has initiated a discussion process with stakeholders from scientific, political and economic organisations on the quantifiable contributions of resource efficiency measures to boost climate change mitigation. The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Heidelberg has developed guidelines for calculating the potential for resource efficiency to allow policy-makers to make sound decisions.
  • The UN Environment Programme has published a regional report for Latin America on material flow management in towns and cities in cooperation with the IRP and the project. Addressing municipalities, the report highlights new ways of developing a resource-efficient circular economy.
  • A four-day study trip in November 2018 for 25 stakeholders from the private and public sectors from 11 emerging economies provided a platform for sharing knowledge. A visit to the European Resource Forum gave participants a chance to take part in the international debate.

Last updated: April 2021

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