REPORTS & BRIEFINGS | 14/12/2017
Beyond the Circular Economy Package: maintaining momentum on resource efficiency
The EU is making steady progress in improving the resource efficiency of its economy.
Between 2000 and 2016, the EU-28’s resource productivity went from €1.47/kg to €2.07/kg, an increase of 41%. This is happening in a context where the EU is gradually moving towards a more export oriented economy. Its ratio of physical imports (mainly fossil energy materials and metal ores) to physical exports (mainly semi-manufactured and finished products) measured in tonnes per capita, dropped from 3.6 in 2000 to 2.5 in 2016, suggesting an improvement in productivity.
However, the job is far from done. In 2014, the total waste generated in the EU-28 by all economic activities and households amounted to 2,503 million tonnes, the highest amount recorded for the 2004–2014 period. Whilst improving resource efficiency will generally make good business sense, businesses often face a number of barriers to taking greater action, ranging from regulatory obstacles and a lack of effective market signals to difficulties in obtaining finance or technical advice to drive innovation. Public policy, therefore, has a role in supporting greater business action on resource efficiency.