How important is resource efficiency?

Rather than limiting the discussion strictly to our own natural resources or lack of them, we should also recognise the costs of wasteful consumption along with the critical need to manage our finite natural resources

Living in an island like Malta where our main resources are the sun and the sea as well as our population density and ever growing scarcity of land, how important is resource efficiency to us within a country specific context?

No country, EU member state or not, can afford to plan to move ahead without having its own clear thinking and own strategy for the coming years as to how to build its own resource efficiency road map.

In the majority of cases this also includes a national waste prevention programme which our national waste management plan includes, and which in a complementary manner with what is already being done well by WasteServ should be further enhanced and given a boost once the national waste management education campaign is launched in the coming weeks.

Rather than limiting the discussion strictly to our own natural resources or lack of them, we should also recognise the costs of wasteful consumption along with the critical need to manage our finite natural resources to maintain our quality of life into the future.

This must be done in tandem, in a complementary manner.

Over the years most countries have come to realise that such a programme should and must evolve beyond an initial focus on preventing generation of solid wastes to a broader view of preventing waste across materials, energy and water.

All this must be done within the context of a programme geared at delivering our national priorities on competitiveness and green growth.

Unless we have a clear vision on all these matters we will not get there.

And this is expressly what our green economy and green jobs strategy and action plan will set out to do in the coming weeks.

Some tend to summarise it best by claiming that it should all hinge on living better and using less.

There cannot be a strategic direction to such a programme unless the public sector, the business community and civil society are all on board.

Without an implementation plan such ideas risk remaining pie in the sky.

The bottom line of it all should be to achieve the overarching objective to implement both EU and national policies on resource efficiency to break the link between economic growth and environmental impact.

This is why a better understanding of the inherent benefits of a circular economy are needed.

Particularly since enhancing competitiveness and reducing business costs is a must, and this can only be achieved by delivering programmes that stimulate resource efficiency and the circular economy itself.

We need to constantly inform and influence evidence-based decision making by compiling and publishing high quality data on such sensitive issues in such pivotal areas. 

The importance of resource efficiency as well as the urgency to address its challenges were further reinforced by a recent UN report ‘Resilient People, Resilient Planet’, that not only showed that our planet is under unprecedented stress, but also that it is driven by strong population growth and the rapidly rising numbers of middle class consumers.

In less than 20 years, it estimates that the world will need 50% more food and 45% more energy.

Unless we realise that our resources, limited or generous as they might be, remain finite and are being consumed at an even quicker rate, we will remain detached from reality.

By positive thinking in this regard, accompanied by timely action, we can make a significant difference to the scale and rate at which we are drawing down the Earth’s natural capital.

The environment and economy are often seen in conflict, however resource efficiency actually boosts business competitiveness by reducing costs and increasing productivity.

Resource efficiency must be seen as many countries have already long realised as key to securing growth and jobs for Europe.

Innovation remains the key to it all.

Pursuing resource efficiency in manufacturing and services will build competitive businesses and secure existing jobs, while also fostering innovative approaches that can create new employment.

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